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Kenya marathon double on final day of Delhi Games

14 października, 2010

Kenya won both the men\'s and women\'s marathon races on the final day of the Commonwealth Games on Thursday to pip Australia as top power in the athletics.

In testing, hot and humid conditions through the deserted streets of central New Delhi, John Kelai gave Kenya its first men\'s marathon title in 20 years finishing in 2:14.35. well clear of Australia\'s Michael Shelley and another Kenyan, Amos Matui.

It was a first-ever women\'s marathon title for Kenya when Irene Kosgei broke clear late to pip compatriot Irene Mogake in a time of 2:34.32 with Lisa Weightman of Australia taking the bronze.

The Kenyan double meant that the east African country topped the athletics medals list ahead of Australia for the first time, vindicating their decision to send a near full-strength team to the New Delhi meet.

"I\'m so humbled to win here, it is an honour," said Kelai.

"This is for my country, the people, the coaches and officials. All of us are going to celebrate. When you can win at this level you know you have reached your peak."

The victories left Kenya with 11 gold medals, 10 silver and eight bronze from the track and field, ahead of traditional athletics power Australia which finished with 11 gold, six silver and three bronze.

If the atmosphere was subdued in the early morning hours of the closing day, it was electric later in the hockey stadium for the men\'s final between hosts India and favourites Australia.

By half-time though the Australians were 4-0 up and the Indian dream looked to have been shattered.

The Indian team had been gathering steam with big wins over Pakistan and England bringing back memories of the glory years of Indian hockey when they ruled the world.

But in the Australians they were faced with a team going for a fourth successive gold medal in the Commonwealth Games.

The world champions finished on the top in each edition since the sport was introduced at the Kuala Lumpur Games in 1998 and look primed to bag the coveted medal this time as well.

A victory in the summit clash will also complete an unprecedented hat-trick of winning the World Cup, Champions Trophy and Commonwealth gold in the same year for Ric Charlesworth\'s men.

Home interest will also be high in the badminton where top seed Sania Nehwal will bid to become the first Indian woman to win the Commonwealth Games singles title going up against second seeded Wong Mew Choo of Malaysia.

India won their 37th gold of the games in the women\'s badminton doubles taking them level with England in second place, but they needed another title to secure the runner-up position behing runaway leaders Australia as England had won more silvers.

The other final day gold medals were in rhythmic gymnastics (4), netball with Australia taking on New Zealand, and table-tennis (2).

The Games closing ceremony, bringing down the curtain on 12 days of competition will start at 1130 GMT.