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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 August, 2004, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
Baldini wins dramatic marathon
All the action as Stefano Baldini wins an incident-filled men's marathon.

Result
1 Stefano Baldini (Ita) 2hrs 10mins 55secs
2 Mebrahtom Keflezighi (USA) +34s
3 Vanderlei de Lima (Bra) +1min 16s
4 Jon Brown (GB) +1min 31s

Athens was treated to a dramatic finish to the Olympics as Stefano Baldini took gold in the men's marathon for Italy.

The lead had been held by Vanderlei de Lima for much of the race before the Brazilian was pushed into the barriers by a deranged spectator.

He managed to continue running for a brave bronze medal, with the USA's Mebrahtom Keflezighi snatching silver. Britain's top finisher was Jon Brown, who repeated his fourth place from Sydney four years ago.


Mile 26
Baldini enters the stadium with gold surely his now. A big cheer comes up from a packed crowd. Keflezighi has a comfortable grasp on second. But the biggest cheer is saved for de Lima after the woes of earlier. He acknowledges the cheers.

Gold to Italy and Stefano Baldini. Keflezighi gets silver. De Lima is being chased all the time by Brown, but it has come too late. The Brazilian has the biggest smile of all the runners as he snatches bronze.

Mile 25
Baldini takes on his last drink of the race as does the Eritrean-born Keflezighi. De Lima is just hanging onto third place. It could be a true tussle to hold onto that spot, with Brown in fourth place closing in on him all the time. This race is set for a dramatic finish.

Mile 24
Baldini takes on the race lead now and looks in fine fettle out there. De Lima is then promptly passed by the USA's Keflezighi, who has not given up on gold by any means.

Mile 23
The chasers are getting painfully close now to long-time leader de Lima. The agony of the marathon is now etched all over the Brazilian's face.

Baldini looks the form man on the course now and surely the favourite for gold. It's difficult to know exactly how much the earlier fracas between de Lima and the spectator (see mile 22) has had on the Brazilian.

Mile 22
De Lima looks destined to get caught now. The trio behind him have taken about 15 seconds out of him in the last mile. But that extra push has hit Tergat hard. He's dropped back to fourth now as Baldini and Keflezighi kick on.

Dramatic scenes suddenly on the road after de Lima is pulled off the road by a spectator. It's not clear if he's been injured but that's surely cost him the chance of staying in front.

Mile 21
Tergat looks set to push the pace on even more. Only time will tell what the world record holder can do. De Lima does not look anywhere near as good as the chasers but his lead is still a generous one.

Mile 20
The race has changed shape now. Brown has been dropped as Tergat, Baldini and Mebrahtom Keflezighi take the pace up a notch or two. De Lima may struggle to keep clear of them.

Mile 19
It's drinks time once more for this medley of marathon runners. Meanwhile, de Lima is keeping a good distance from the chasers.

Unsurprisingly, the Brazilian's first love as a child was football. A winger in his school days, he was advised to take up running after showing solid speed and resistance.

Mile 18
Just for your information, Brown was born in Bridgend, Wales, but now lives and trains in Vancouver. He also studied journalism in the USA and could barely have written the script better than it's going now.

He's embroiled in a really good chase going now as de Lima defies the odds by remaining clear for the time being.

Mile 17
The chasing group of initially three is filling out a bit as Tereje Wodajo from Ethiopia puts in a burst to join them, as does Brown. The gold medallist will surely come from this group. They look strong as a unit.

Mile 16
Brown moves to the front of the chasing group for the first time in the race. Britain will be hoping it's a case of golden Brown in under an hour's time.

But just as he does so, the tempo is lifted again. Tergat, Baldini and Gharib go on the break to bring down de Lima. This new pace causes South Africa's Syster to retire from the race.

Mile 15
Sadly race leader de Lima - a big fishing enthusiast away from road running - is being reeled in a little bit now. Tergat lifts the pace along with Stefano Baldini from Italy. Previous leader Ramaala has dropped out of the chasing group now.

Mile 14
The only surprise to date is that Spain's Julio Rey looks off the pace. Otherwise the top names are going strong.

Mile 13
Vanderlei de Lima of Brazil has a go off the front at the latest water break. He pulls out a reasonable lead in no time at all at what is the half-way point.

Mile 12
Ramaala's team-mates Gert Thys and Ian Syster interestingly are leading the bid to drag back the early leader. Tergat's there as well as is Britain's Brown.

But the early promise we saw from Ramaala appears to be waning a touch as the hilly course continues to take its toll. There are a good 25 rivals primed to gobble him up on the course and sure enough, they bring him back moments later.

Mile 11
Ramaala looks uncertain about what to do in the lead. He looks back persistently, sending him running all over the road. It might have something to do with the fact that he's never had a coach.

He once said: "I started without a coach and improved without one so, if it ain't broke, why fix it?"

Mile 10
Ramaala has just decided to take this race on. He pulls a few metres ahead - the first real attack with any venom in the marathon so far. He looks over his shoulder to see how he's doing.

Sadly for him, as they head up the hill, the field chase him down. But his move as sent a number of athletes sprawling.

Moments later he goes again. This time the chasers can't match him and he's out on his own.

Mile nine
Of the leading protagonists, Morocco's Jaouad Gharib looks in great shape. As the world champion, he is one of the serious contenders for gold and he appears to be running smoothly.

Mile eight
Britain's Jon Brown looks in good shape. He's in the front pack at this stage with another 50 athletes or so.

Mile seven
After the feeding station, Brazil's Vanderlei Lima and Han Gang, of China, pull just ahead. Their lead's barely worth talking about as the rest of the field are within a matter of metres.

Mile six
At this stage it is almost impossible to ponder where the first attacks will come from. One thing's for sure - it won't be from Mexico's Jose Ernani Palalia. The pace is proving too much and already he's dropping well back.

Mile five
An unfamiliar face in Mongolia's Ser-Od Bat-Ochir is mixing it with the best at the moment. With a best time of 2:26.39, he is unlikely to pose a massive threat as the race moves on.

Mile four
All three of Britian's competitors are happily nestled in contention, as is world record holder Paul Tergat.

Hendrick Ramaala, of South Africa, is looking sprightly at the moment at the front. He is among a number of athletes to sponge himself down in the heat while still on the move.

Mile three
The 102 challengers for gold all run through the feed station for the first time. There seems to be no problems as they grab their sustenance. The pace of the race so far is fairly slowly.

Mile two
Already the sweat is dripping off the faces of the athletes, such is the heat on the course. El Boumlili has been swallowed back into the main group but still looks comfortable enough.

Mile one
El Boumlili leads the marathon but it's of no concern to the leading protagonists. He's not considered a major threat and he's only marginally clear.

Already, though, the field is splitting in the hot temperatures. The sole Greek contender Nikolaos Palios is among the early stragglers.

1600 BST: The marathon gets going in high temperatures - about 33 degrees at the moment. There are 102 of competitors in the field in total. Khalid El Boumlili of Morocco goes solo off the front of the main group straight away.





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