Double Gold for Kelly Holmes

Ealing, Acton and Southall Athletics Club star takes gold in 1500m


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Local athlete Kelly Holmes ran a new British record of
3 minutes 57.90 seconds to take Gold in the 1500m in Athens today. She's the first Briton to win the double in the Olympic middle-distance for 84 years.

She finished ahead of Russia's Tatyana Tomashova, with Romania's Maria Cioncin taking the Bronze.

A 'gobsmacked' Holmes said: "After the 800m I had a lot of confidence and I was feeling good going through the rounds, but these girls are really good and I had to focus more than ever in that race. I had to use all my guts to hold on for dear life - I was running as fast as I could."

Holmes adds the 1500m gold to the 800m she won on Tuesday:

"Local athlete Kelly Holmes surprised even herself by winning Britain's first track gold at the Olympics.

Holmes, of Ealing, Acton and Southall AC, ran a superb tactical race to defeat the defending champion Ethiopia's Marie Mutola, her close friend and training partner, and Slovakia's Jolanda Ceplak. She waited patiently at the back of a large field in the early moments of the race, kicking for home in the last 120m and surprising the sprint finishers ahead of her.

She was locked in a thrilling dual with Mutola that seemed set to decide the destiny of the gold in the final 80m, but an extraordinary late burst from Ceplak and the eventual silver medalist Ben Hassai of Tunisi forced a tense few seconds after this remarkable race, during when Holmes' smile of surprise was turned into a frown of horror.

She paced her race to perfection, winning in a time of 1:56:38, to win her first global title. Holmes, who has seen the spectre of injury loom over so many major championships in the past, is not finished at these Games just yet, though, as she will compete in what she deems her stronger event * the 1500m * on Tuesday.

Afterwards, she was understandably delighted. "I can't believe it," she admitted. "I didn't realise I had won - I had to see the replay twice to be sure. You have all thsose dreams beforehand, and then something always goes wrong. I thought something would go wrong again. It was totally unreal".

Holmes, who became the seventh British female athlete to win an Olympic gold, was later presented with her medal by Sebastian Coe, himself a distinguished distance runner and now the man behind Britain's bid for the 2012 Olympics.

Holmes had nearly walked out on the sport, despite having risen through the junior ranks to the summit as English Senior Schools Champion at 800m and 1500m, put the allure of life in the armed forces to one side, persuaded by sight of her rivals racing on television. It certainly seems like she made the right decision.

Daniel Crawford, Editor, Sportscene"

Sportscene is a monthly magazine written by local, young sports journalists with a national focus. It has been featured on national television and the editor was awarded the only Carlton Sports Award for Young Journalism in 1997. For more information, e-mail or call 0790 666 1031

August 28th, 2004