Uganda's golden boy Kiprotich
In a stunning upset in the Olympic marathon, Stephen Kiprotich brings home Uganda's second gold ever.PT1M19S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2436m 620 349 August 13, 2012
Stephen Kiprotich left his family in Uganda, packed his belongings and moved to Kenya, where long distance is king, to learn his trade six years ago, when he was but a 17-year-old.
The Kenyans may now be wishing they did not let him over the border.
The 23-year-old produced a stunning upset in the Olympic men's marathon on the final day of the London Games on Sunday, spoiling Kenya's aspirations for a medal sweep and in the process winning the African nation's second gold medal – and the first for 40 years.
Uganda's Stephen Kiprotich crosses the finish line. Photo: Getty Images
At the 35-kilometre mark, Kiprotich appeared to have been shaken off along the Embankment by Kenya's race favourite, Wilson Kipsang, the fastest man in the race, and his compatriot, the two-time world champion Abel Kirui. However, having dropped slightly off the pace, he put on a counter-attack with 5km remaining and, stretching out, was never challenged from there.
The Ugandan crossed the line at the Mall in a time of two hours, 8 minutes and one second, 26s ahead of Kirui, with Kipsang having to settle for third a further 10s back.
Australia's best-placed finisher was Michael Shelley, who despite being 61st at the halfway point, claimed 16th position in a time of 2:14.10. Marty Dent was 28th in 2:16.29 with Australia's other runner, Jeffrey Hunt, 63rd in 2:22.59.
"I can't believe [I'm] top 16, it's unbelievable. Words can't describe it," an elated Shelley said. "I'm shocked and surprised.
"At around halfway, I sort of started to pick up people. I started as conservatively and relaxed as possible during that first half. That's basically what [my coach] told me to do. I followed the instructions as best as I possibly could and I got a great result out of it. I can't thank him enough."
Dent was also content with his placing in the marathon, in which a breakaway Kipsang set a quick early pace, going through the halfway point in an hour and three minutes and with a lead that stretched out at one point to more than 20s before Kiprotich and Kirui reeled him in.
"I ran as hard as I could and I think I paced myself pretty well," Dent said. "I think I was 2s quicker for the second half, so that's a good sign I ran to pace. It was one of the better last 10km marathons I've done."
Kiprotich ruined the Kenyans' hopes of repeating the win in Beijing of Samuel Wanjiru, who became the country's first men's marathon winner at the Olympics but died last year after falling from a balcony during a domestic dispute.
Kiprotich said: "Uganda are very happy because we haven't won a medal in marathon races."
"The pace was too fast and I knew I could not run away from them so I just had to keep up with them [the Kenyan runners]. I tried to settle and then I had to break away because I wanted to win this medal."