Tokyo Olympics: Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge wins second consecutive marathon gold
Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge now stands at possibly the epitome of modern athletic greats as he cruised to his second Olympic gold in gruelling marathon race in Sapporo. He delivered a masterclass in running to retain the Olympic title in the men's marathon at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
The Kenyan runner, running in his fourth Olympics, crossed the finish line in Sapporo Odori Park in a time of two hours eight minutes, and 38 seconds. The time was faster than the one he ran to win Olympic gold in Rio in 2016.
"It means a lot for me, especially at this time," Olympics.com quoted Kipchoge after he won his second Olympic gold. "It was really hard last year, it (Olympic Games Tokyo 2020) was postponed. I am happy for the local organising committee who made this race happen."
Kipchoge, who won bronze in Athens in 2004 and silver in Beijing 2008 in the 5000m, already has a full set of medals thanks to his marathon gold in Rio. But this addition to his collection is Kenya's fifth medal in the men's Olympic marathon since the Games in Beijing in 2008.
With this win, Kipchoge joins a select group of runners who have successfully defended the Olympic marathon title. The others are Ethiopia's Abebe Bikila (1960 and 1964) and East Germany's Waldemar Cierpinski (1976 and 1980).
One hundred and five runners started the race in a hot and humid Sapporo, but the conditions soon took their toll, with many high-profile runners and pre-race favourites failing to finish the race.
Uganda's Stephen Kiprotich, the London 2012 champion and Ethiopia's Shura Kitata, the 2020 London Marathon champion, were just two of the runners that struggled in the humidity and withdrew in the first 15 kilometres.
Despite the gruelling conditions, Kipchoge, the world record holder, looked comfortable throughout.