By Mohamed Assed.
Tripoli, 12 August:
Today marks the final day of the London . . .[restrict]2012 Olympic Games. It almost certainly also marks the last time 34-year-old Libyan athlete Ali Mabrouk El-Zaidi takes part in an Olympic event.
El-Zaidi, Libya’s long-distance runner failed to finish the 42.915-kilometre marathon held in the streets of London on Sunday morning. He was unable to finish the marathon, barely running ten kilometres in 31.26 minutes before gasping his way out of the race.
The experienced Libyan runner was said to be deeply dissatisfied with his performance. His achievement does not reflect the amount of hard work he put into the pre-Olympics trainings. Nevertheless, sports have equally suffered both before and during the revolution and so no one could have expected miracles from El-Zaidi as he trained in the difficult conditions prior to London Olympics.
El-Zaidi finished the long-distance event in 99th position. There were 105 participants. Only 85 runners managed to finish the full 42.915 kimometres.
The marathon was deservedly and mightily won by 23-year-old Ugandan runner Stephen Kiprotich who stole the limelight and claimed the gold medal with an impeccable time of 2:08:01. Despite appearing to suffer an injury early on, Kiprotich managed to secure Uganda’s first medal of the 2012 Summer Olympics and only second ever Olympic gold in athletics as he beat the two highly favoured Kenyans, Abel Kirui and Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich, They finished second and third respectively.
On his way to cross the finish line, Kiprotich draped himself in the Ugandan flag as he dropped on his knees and raised both his hands in thanksgiving.