Jones misses out on third gold

2000-09-29 15:38

Sydney - Marion Jones's dream of becoming the first woman to win five track golds at one Olympics ended in defeat on Friday as German Heike Drechsler leapt to an emphatic victory in the long jump.

Jones, who had completed the 100 and 200 metres legs of her historic attempt, was forced to settle for bronze as her lack of technique told against the specialists.

"The drive for five is not alive. I didn't regret it at all. I had a shot at it and it didn't pan out. Inside I'm disappointed but she deserved the gold," Jones said.

Earlier, in the night's biggest upset, the red hot favourite for the men's 1 500 metres gold, Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj was outsprinted in a thrilling finish by Kenyan Noah Ngeny.

It was the second time the world champion had suffered heartache at the Olympics. In Atlanta in 1996, he clipped eventual champion Noureddine Morceli's heel and crashed to the track before finishing last.

Jones, who has the comfort of two golds from Sydney so far, fouled her first, fourth, fifth and sixth jumps and her best of 6.92 metres tied with Italian Fiona May. But the 24-year-old American lost out for silver on a countback.

As the tension mounted over the six rounds, Jones jogged nervously in the field. Before her final attempt she looked up at the sky, took two deep breaths and launched herself on to the runway.

She soared near the seven-metre mark, looked back anxiously and grimaced as she saw the red flag go up for a fourth time.

Drechsler's gold medal leap was 6.99 metres.

Inconsolable after defeat

El Guerrouj looked even more miserable than Jones after his defeat by Ngeny who smashed Briton Seb Coe's 16-year-old Olympic record by nearly half a second in three minutes 32.07 seconds.

The Moroccan world record holder's legs seemed to abandon him in the final straight as he finished in 3:32.32. Another Kenyan, Bernard Lagat, was third in 3:32.44 - also just within Coe's old record.

Ngeny's triumph secured the second gold of the night for Kenya after unfancied Reuben Kosgei won the men's Olympic 3 000 metres steeplechase. It was the fourth time running that a Kenyan has won the event at the Games.

Kosgei timed 8:21.43 to beat compatriot Wilson Boit Kipketer (8:21.77) and Ali Ezzine of Morocco (8:22.15).

Boit Kipketer looked set to win after landing in front with a barrier to jump but was overhauled after Kosgei brushed him aside, knocking him off his stride.

Earlier, 17-year-old Pole Kamila Skolimowksa won the first women's Olympic hammer title, throwing 71.16 metres with her third attempt to beat world silver medallist Olga Kuzenkova of Russia with 69.77. Germany's Kirsten Muenchow was third with 69.28.

Nick Hysong made some amends for Jones's failure for the United States by winning the men's Olympic pole vault gold after four competitors ended with the same height.

Hysong cleared 5.90 metres, with compatriot Lawrence Johnson taking the silver and world champion Maxim Tarasov of Russia the bronze. Hysong won the gold after failing fewer heights earlier in the competition.

The US continued to lead the medals table with two days of competition left with 33 golds, ahead of China on 26 and Russia on 20.

Historic Polish double

The first athletics gold of the day was decided in the morning when Pole Robert Korzeniowski became the first man to win both the 20 and 50 km walks in the same Games.

In sailing, Britain won two golds through Shirley Robertson (women's Europe dinghy class) and Ben Ainslie (open Laser dinghy class) won gold.

But Ainslie, silver medallist in Atlanta, had to endure a wait of several hours to have his victory, after a protest by Brazilian defending champion Robert Scheidt who lost by just one point.

The regatta's international jury ruled in favour of Ainslie whose own protest against Scheidt was upheld although the overall result was unaffected.

There were no such problems for Scotland's Robertson, however. She secured victory after holding off a late charge from Dutchwoman Margriet Matthysse.

On the taekwondo mat, Lee Sun-hee of South Korea clinched gold in the 67kg class by beating Trude Gundersen of Norway 6-3 while Angel Valodia Matos Fuentes (Cuba) beat Faissal Ebnoutalib of Germany 3-1 to win the men's 80kg class.

Australia's hopes of men's basketball gold disappeared when France beat them comfortably 76-52. The Australian women, though, are through to their final after beating Brazil 64-52 and now face the United States who defeated South Korea 78-65. - Reuters