Kenyan Peres Jepchirchir won the Olympic gold medal in the marathon held in Sapporo, while Matea Parlov Koštro took 21st and Bojana Bjeljac 53rd out of the two Croatian representatives that competed, reports HRT.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to move marathon and walking races from Tokyo to northern Sapporo to avoid the summer heat in the Japanese capital. But on Friday, a temperature of 35 degrees Celsius was measured in Sapporo, the same as in Tokyo.
Therefore, the start of Saturday’s marathon was at 6 am local time to avoid the heat. However, the start of the marathon was below 25 degrees and 84% humidity. Two hours later, at 8 am, it was already 29 degrees with 69% humidity.
88 girls appeared at the start, including two Croatian representatives, Matea Parlov Koštro and Bojana Bjeljac.
The track was circular and ran three laps, 22 km, 10 km, and 10 km.
Bjeljac, with a result of 2:27:42 from Valencia in 2019, had the 47th reported result, and Matea Parlov Koštro, with 2:28:52 from Valencia in 2020, had the 72nd result among the 88 girls. The Olympic norm was 2:29:30.
Bjeljac started better and by the middle of the track was ahead of Parlov Koštro, and both were between 40th and 50th position. But Matea was great in the second part of the race. At one point, she broke through to 18th place, and in the end, she finished the marathon in 21st place with a result of 2:33.18, while Bjeljac took 53rd place with a time of 2:39.32.
Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir won gold with a time of 2:27.20, 16 seconds ahead of compatriot Brigid Kosgei, while in third was American Molly Seidel, 26 seconds behind.
Israeli Lonah Chemta Salpeter also fought for the medal up to four kilometers before the finish line but broke at 38 km. In the end, she somehow finished the race in 66th place.
World champion Ruth Chepngetich also hoped for a medal, but she gave up after 33 km.
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