Pamela Jelimo powered to a brilliant 800m victory to become the first Kenyan woman to win an Olympic title.
The 18-year-old, who only began running the event in April, set a
devastating pace to win in one minute 54.87 seconds at the Bird’s Nest
stadium in Beijing.
Janeth Jepkosgei could not match her compatriot and took silver ahead of Morocco’s Hasna Benhassi.
Veteran Maria Mutola, who was competing in her sixth Olympic Games, finished out of the medals in sixth.
Jepkosgei, last year’s world champion, set the pace in a
55-second first lap but Jelimo moved past her at the bell and powered
"I’m happy I managed it," the 18-year-old said afterwards. "I did my best but I didn’t expect it to be so fast."
Jepkosgei, who also ran a personal best of 1:56.07 for silver, added: "For me, getting the silver was like winning the gold."
Jelimo has now been tipped by former 800m champions Kelly Holmes and Mutola to attack the world record of 1:53:28.
Czech Jarmila Kratochvilova set the record in 1983 which is the oldest record in an Olympic track and field event.
"Look at her time, 1:54 is very, very fast, especially from
someone who is 18 and I’m sure she will break the world record,"
Mutola, who will retire at the end of the season, said.