Tokyo Olympics: Jepchirchir, Kosgei clinch gold & silver in women’s marathon
Peres Jepchirchir captured Kenya’s third gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics when she raced to victory in the women’s marathon held Saturday morning in Sapporo.
Jepchirchir, the Half Marathon world record holder clocked 2:27:20 as world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei came home second to take silver in 2:27:36 as Molly Seidel of USA bagged bronze in 2:27:46
Making her debut at the Olympic Games, Jepchirchir began to pull away from Kosgei just beyond the 40km marker en route to her victory.
The in-form athlete picked from where she left in 2020, where she smashed the half marathon world record twice alongside reclaiming the World Half title before claiming victory at the Valencia Marathon.
World marathon champion Ruth Chepngetich dropped from the race at just over 31km.
The Kenyan team boasted three of the five fastest female marathon runners of all time, but world champion Ruth Chepngetich – who defied the heat and humidity of Doha in 2019 to win gold – pulled up after losing touch with the leaders at 30km.
Jepchirchir and Kosgei were joined by Seidel and Salpeter in the lead group with five kilometres remaining, before the Kenyan pair moved clear and Seidel pushed on following European 10,000m champion Salpeter’s abrupt withdrawal to win bronze in just her third outing over the distance.
Kosgei, a two-time London marathon winner who broke Britain’s Paula Radcliffe’s 16-year-old world record with a time of 2:14:04 at the Chicago Marathon in October 2019, finished 16 seconds behind Jepchirchir and 10 seconds ahead of Seidel.
Both the marathon and race walking events at the Games were moved 500 miles north of Tokyo to Japan’s northern city of Sapporo because of the summer heat in Japan’s capital.
A total of 14 athletes failed to complete the distance in Sapporo, compared to 74 finishers.
Additional reporting by BBC