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Cameroon's Mbango retains champion in triple jump
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Defending Olympic champion Francoise Mbango of Cameroon broke the Olympic record of the women's triple jump at the Beijing Olympics here on Sunday and retained the title.

It is the second Olympic athletics gold in Cameroon's history.

In her second attempt, Mbango landed 15.39 meters. The previous record was held by Inessa Kravets of Ukraine in 15.33 meters.

Tatyana Lebedeva of Russia, took her second Olympic silver after Sydney Games with a jump of 15.32 meters. She was also the bronze medalist in Athens games.

The bronze went to Hrysopiyi Devetzi of Greece, who cleared 15.23 meters, who jumped 15.33 meters in the qualification at the Athens games, the best Olympic effort so far.

"It's my best performance in my life. I am so happy," said the 32-year-old champion after the match. "I believe in myself, and I worked hard. I had a baby two years ago, so this is my first year back in competition. I believe I won because I have experience and I took my time with my preparation."

"I was lucky today because all of the other girls were jumping in front of me. I could see what distance I could jump and that helped me manage my competition," she said.

"My goal in the Olympic games is the gold. I want to try my best, but I have not totally recovered from my injury. So I was satisfied with the silver medal," said Lebedeva after the match.

The reigning champion was in the lead with her first jump of 15.19 meters and increased her control with her second attempt that measured 15.39 meters, a new Olympic and African record.

Devetzi was in second place after the second round of jumps, leading 15.23 to 15.17 meters. However, Lebedeva overtook with her third attempt when jumping 15.32 meters for a position that she refused to relinquish.

Mbango was assured of her gold medal when Lebedeva foul-jumped on her final effort. The Paris-based champion tried improving her distance, but could only reach 14.88 meters.

(Xinhua News Agency August 17, 2008)

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