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Marathoner Tomescu adds gold for Romania
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Constantina Tomescu of Romania displays the Romanian national flag after taking women's marathon final at the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, during Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, Aug. 17, 2008. Tomescu claimed the title of the event. [Xinhua]

Romanian runner Constantina Tomescu added her country Sunday morning a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics while Chinese Zhou Chunxiu created her country's Olympic best by getting a bronze in women's marathon.

The 38-year-old Tomescu clocked 2 hours 26 minutes 44 seconds and Zhou finished in 2:27:07, or her second personal best. Catherine Ndereba of Kenya won the silver, with a result of 2:27:06. Zhu Xiaolin, also from China, was fourth in 2:27.16.

Tomescu has led others since the half mark of 42.195km race.

The gold medalist said, "I was pushing hard and wanted my gold medal."

"In the last kilometer, I kept looking back to check because I didn't want to lose the medal. I felt a little bit of fatigue in my legs."

Ndereba said, "The silver medal is good. The weather was so nice for marathoners but the drizzle made the road a little slippery."

She praised the gold medalist for her tactics of quick lead in the mid way. "The Romanian just disappeared that I hardly noticed."

Zhou, the Chinese favorite whose personal best was 2:19:51, said she was satisfied with the Olympic bronze.

"I executed the follow-up tactics but didn't expect Tomescu to accelerate so soon," she said.

"The thunderous cheers of the spectators drove me mad in the final lap in the national stadium."

World record holder Paula Radcliffe, just recovering from injuries, was ranked 23rd in 2:32:38. She once seemed to quit in the mid way but didn't give up.

(Xinhua News Agency August 17, 2008)

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