13 Aug 2012

Ugandan upsets Kenyans to win marathon

9:30 am on 13 August 2012

The Ugandan runner Stephen Kiprotich has caused an upset in the men's marathon at the Olympics by easily beating the experienced Kenyan pair of Abel Kirui and Wilson Kipsang.

Kiprotich joined Kirui - twice a world gold medallist - and London marathon champion Kipsang at the 30km mark. Six kilometres later he shot to the front and went on to win Uganda's first medal at the London Games.

He is only his country's second gold medallist ever; the other was John Akii-Bua, who won the 400 metres hurdles at the 1972 Munich Games.

A huge crowd packed the streets of central London on a sun-baked morning on the final day of the Games to watch the marathon, traditionally the last major event of the Olympics.

London is about to turn on what's been billed as one of the greatest after-parties ever for the closing ceremony, featuring more than 4000 performers from the Who to the Spice Girls on a stage shaped like the union jack.

Gold-medal-winning rower Mahe Drysdale will carry the New Zealand flag in the closing ceremony.

Chef de mission Dave Currie says he was chosen because he demonstrated commitment to high performance, and because of his ongoing support of the other New Zealand athletes.

Drysdale says he's pleased he could support the team as they progressed through competition, and pleased to be part of one of New Zealand's most successful Olympic teams ever.