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Tokyo Olympics: Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir wins women’s marathon

Peres Jepchirchir won the women’s marathon at Tokyo 2020 as Kenya claimed a one-two in sweltering conditions in Japan’s northern city of Sapporo.

Jepchirchir beat world record holder Brigid Kosgei in the closing stages to win in two hours 27 minutes 20 seconds.

American Molly Seidel took bronze after Israel’s Lonah Chemtai Salpeter stopped inside the final five kilometres.

Contested in 28C heat, the race was moved from 07:00 to 06:00 local time due to the forecast temperatures.

Stephanie Davis, the 2021 British champion, finished 39th in 2:36:33.

Compatriots Steph Twell – making her third Olympic appearance at a third different distance after entering the 1500m in 2008 and 5,000m in 2016 – placed 68th in 2:53:26, while Jessica Piasecki was 71st in 2:55:39.

The Kenyan team boasted three of the five fastest female marathon runners of all time, but world champion Ruth Chepngetich – who defied the heat and humidity of Doha in 2019 to win gold – pulled up after losing touch with the leaders at 30km.

Jepchirchir and Kosgei were joined by Seidel and Salpeter in the lead group with five kilometres remaining, before the Kenyan pair moved clear and Seidel pushed on following European 10,000m champion Salpeter’s abrupt withdrawal to win bronze in just her third outing over the distance.

Kosgei, a two-time London marathon winner who broke Britain’s Paula Radcliffe’s 16-year-old world record with a time of 2:14:04 at the Chicago Marathon in October 2019, finished 16 seconds behind Jepchirchir and 10 seconds ahead of Seidel.

Both the marathon and race walking events at the Games were moved 500 miles north of Tokyo to Japan’s northern city of Sapporo because of the summer heat in Japan’s capital.

A total of 14 athletes failed to complete the distance in Sapporo, compared to 74 finishers.

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