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Barega wins first Olympic athletics gold with victory in 10,000m

Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega held off a sprint finish from world record holder Joshua Cheptegei to win the Olympic 10,000m title – the first athletics gold of Tokyo 2020.

The 21-year-old, who won silver in the 5000m at the 2019 World Championships, out-kicked Cheptegei on the final straight to become the first new winner of the event since Britain’s Mo Farah – who failed to qualify for the Games – first claimed the title in London 2012.

Barega finished in 27:43.22, while Cheptegei’s team-mate Jacob Kiplimo claimed bronze – after their fellow Ugandan Stephen Kissa flew out of the start and led at the half-way mark, before pulling out around 7000m.

Britain’s Marc Scott finished a respectable 14th, but Sam Atkin pulled out with an apparent injury just after passing through 5km.

“Towards the later stages of the race where the breaks were made, I just couldn’t quite cover it,” Scott told Eurosport when he was asked about the hot conditions.

“You don’t feel it, then all of a sudden it’s right there on your shoulders.

“The goal was to come in the top 10 coming into the race but just the way things played out, I just didn’t have it over the final stages.

“But I know if I prepare right in the next couple of days and get ready for the 5k, I can definitely be up there with those guys again, because most guys are probably going to double back so everybody’s going to be tired.”

Scott was also pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere inside the stadium, despite the fact no paying spectators are allowed to attend: “It’s actually fairly loud in here with no fans, there’s just a few accredited individuals, so they did make some noise obviously for the African nations who excel in these events – they were loud – and then we’ve all got personal coaches and things like that so there was a bit more atmosphere than I was expecting.”

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