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Kemboi to switch to Marathon

Omulo Okoth in London

Updated Monday, August 6th 2012 at 00:00 GMT +3

By Omulo Okoth in London

Ezekiel Kemboi won his second Olympic gold medal, the first by Kenya in London Games and announced it was his last race on the track.

"I finished the race in the outside lane because I am heading to marathon from here. I want to end my track career on a high, like my friend Didier Drogba left European football while at the top," said Kemboi, who won his first Olympic gold in Athens eight years ago.

"I will sit down with my coach Moses Kiptanui and plan for the marathon future. I am done with track. I have had enough of it and must move on now," he said.

Spotting a new hair cut, which he explained was meant for gold medal, Kemboi sprinted with 300 metres to go and burnt out the field as he finished towards lane seven. He won in 8:18.56 and Frenchman Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad took silver again in 8:19.08 with Abel Kiprop Mutai settling for bronze in 8:19.73.

He also won the world title in Osaka in 2007 and Daegu last year.

Kemboi also won a Commonwealth Games gold in Manchester in 2002.

But the steeplechase final almost became disastrous after African champion Abel Mutai and hitherto defending Olympic champion Brimin Kipruto collided with two laps to go, which saw the latter completely destabilised as he sauntered to fifth place a devastated person.

Mutai was all smiles after his bronze medal, the second major achievement after his African gold in Benin last month.

"I did not know the race had ended. I thought it was still going on," he joked.

Earlier, all the Kenyans defending champion Asbel Kiprop, Silas KIplagat and Nixon Chepseba qualified for the 1,500m final. Kiprop and Kiplagat were second in their races while Chepseba, who adopted a different style this time after being tripped on the first heats on Friday, finished fourth behind Kiplagat in the second semi-final.

But Kemboi's wild celebrations left many wondering.

Kenyans back watching live from TV feeds wondered why he dropped the national flag and climbed his runner up in amusement. For fans he even exchanged his jersey and pictures of the lap of honour had him in the wrong jersey and the wrong name of Mekihissi Benabbad.

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