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Tirunesh Dibaba earns Ethiopia 1st gold at Beijing Olympics
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Tirunesh Dibaba won Ethiopia the first gold medal on Friday evening at the Beijing Olympics, creating a new Olympic record in 29 minutes and 54.66 seconds in the women's 10,000 meters race.

Dibaba, two-time world champion in the race, remained in the leading group in most laps and overtook Ethiopia-born Turkish runner Elvan Abeylegesse, who got the silver by clocking 29:56.34, about 300 meters to the finish line.

Shalane Flanagan of the United States won the bronze in 30:22.22.

Dibaba said, "It is not enough to get only world championships titles, and it is so cool to win the Olympic gold in Beijing."

She said, "It was a terrible race, and the time was very fast, but thanks God, I did it. I was expecting something from the race and I got it. It was really very tough, but I am not afraid of any race."

Despite breaking the Olympic record, the 23-year-old Ethiopian felt unsatisfied. "It was the right place to break the world record and I had hoped I would but it was not so. Next year, I'm sure I'll do it."

Flanagan, who created the season's best previously in 30:34.49, said, "I tried my best in the final lap and didn't even realize that I won the bronze."

She said she was too nervous to fall asleep at the race's eve.

Another favorite before the game, Tirunesh's sister Ejegayehu Dibaba, three years older than the gold medalist, only finished the 14th in the final.

Speaking of her sister's role of inspiration, the younger Dibaba said, "My sister is a friend, coach and advisor. She always gives me positive push."

(Xinhua News Agency 15, 2008)

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