Italian wins athletics gold

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:08 IST

Italy's Ivano Brugnetti pulled ahead with 2,000 metres to go in the men's 20-kilometre walk to win the gold medal today

Athens:

Under a blazing morning sun and with the world's best race-walkers at his heels, Ivano Brugnetti of Italy was at his best. Brugnetti pulled ahead with 2,000 metres to go in the men's 20-kilometre walk to win the gold medal today in the Athens Games' first athletics event in the Olympic Stadium. His time of 1 hour, 19 minutes, 39 seconds was a personal best and was five seconds ahead of Francisco Fernandez of Spain, who took silver. Nathan Deakes of Australia won the bronze. Favourite Jefferson Perez of Ecuador - the event's world-record holder, 2003 world champion and 1996 Olympic gold medallist - was fourth. "I was not sure if I could win, but I was hoping to get a medal," Brugnetti said. "I was a little bit lucky to win this gold." The women's 100-metre first-round heats began in the absence of some of the biggest American sprint names. Missing were defending champion Marion Jones, world champion Torri Edwards, Kelli White and Chryste Gaines. Edwards and White are serving drug suspensions. Jones and Gaines did not qualify. Jones is under investigation by the US Anti-Doping Agency and Gaines has been charged by USADA with steroid use. Both claim they never used performance-enhancing substances. (AP)

Topics : Athletics
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