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Page last updated at 18:34 GMT, Friday, 15 August 2008 19:34 UK

Dibaba wins women's 10,000m title

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Video - Dibaba wins Olympic 10,000m

Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba won the women's 10,000m in a new Olympic record by beating Turkey's Elvan Abeylegesse in a thrilling battle in Beijing.

During a fast race which was stretched from the start, the pair were neck and neck going into the final six laps.

But at the sound of the bell, world champion Dibaba kicked out and held on to win in 29 minutes 54.68 seconds.

America's Shalane Flanagan took the bronze medal while Britain's Jo Pavey came 12th in a new personal best.

The winning time was the second-fastest ever and Pavey, who finished fourth at last year's World Championships, slipped off the main group with 11 laps to go.

"I'm disappointed, you feel like you've made a fool of yourself," Pavey told BBC Sport. "It was such a blistering pace.

"I'm disappointed because my training has been going well in the last year."

To put somebody through [a time trial] the day before their first ever major international is absolutely appalling

Britain's Kate Reed

Pavey, 34, clocked 31:12.30 and will now concentrate on women's 5,000m heats which start on Tuesday with the final on Friday.

Britain's Kate Reed, competing in her first Olympics, finished 23rd in 32:26.69 but said she was asked by UK Athletics chief Dave Collins to run a 2km time-trial the night before the race in order to prove her fitness.

The 25-year-old had been suffering from an achilles problem but she said the decision badly affected her performance.

"Dave Collins wanted to make sure I wasn't going to let the team down, I guess he didn't want any bad performances," Reed said.

"But to put somebody through that the day before their first ever major international is absolutely appalling."

During another humid night in the Chinese capital Netherlands' Loran Kiplagat, formerly of Kenya, took control early on dragging the runners through the first kilometre in three minutes.

And as the field began to stretch, Abeylegesse bypassed the Dutch pace setter to signal her intent having finished second to Dibaba at last year's World Championships in Osaka.

Her efforts reduced the number of runners in contention to four, but that was cut further to just Abeylegesse and Dibaba with six laps left.

Dibaba, however, was waiting on her rival's shoulder and was merely waiting to strike, taking the lead as the bell sounded.


She then carved out an unassailable gap down the back straight to seal a superb World and Olympic double. She also won the 10,000m in the world championships in 2005.

Reed, meanwhile, was left to rue what might have been although she had no realistic chance of keeping pace with the front runners.

"It has been a childhood dream to come to these Olympics, it's all I've ever wanted my whole life," she said.

"It's not at all how I imagined it, I wanted to go home yesterday, I was in shreds.

"If it hadn't been for my coach, and my mum and dad phoning from back home, I don't think I would have made it, I was an emotional wreck and shaking like a leaf. It was just too much.

"I dosed myself up with painkillers two hours before, put on my long socks and said a long prayer that I could get through it."

She added: "My legs were just flat tonight. It just took it out of me, I had had such an emotional day - at one point I had a flight booked home, they were going to send me home.

"There were doubts over my fitness because I picked up an injury in Macau and the doctors couldn't diagnose it.

"It started at 10am, all the arguments and it got to 7.30pm and my coach Alan Storey was just saying 'go out there and show them and get yourself on that team for tomorrow'.

"I have had no support, no medical back-up, no physio because we are not on lottery funding and it has been a hard slog to get here.

"I'm just so pleased I did and I was determined to finish and I hope I have not let anyone down."

see also
Team GB's top athletes: Jo Pavey
14 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Team GB for Beijing
21 Jul 08 |  Team GB

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