Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha has won gold in a highly competitive women’s 10km marathon final that ended in a photo finish.
Cunha's time of 1:59:30.8 was enough in the end to win her first Olympic gold medal. Netherlands’ Sharon van Rouwendaal took silver (1:59:31.7) with Australia’s Kareena Lee finishing in bronze position (1:59:32.5).
Great Britain’s Alice Dearing came in 19th in a time of 2:05:03.2.
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At the 7km mark USA’s Beth Twichell led the way, but she was overtaken by Germany’s Leonie Beck as the pace stepped up after the one hour, 30 minute mark. China’s Xin Xin moved closely behind into bronze position.
Past 8km and there was a clear split between the top eight and the rest and Xin was given a warning for being too close to Lee.
Lap six of seven concluded with Beck in the lead in a time of 1:43:40.1 and Twichell 5.4 seconds further back.
Moments later and Beck appeared to have an issue with her goggles and Lee capitalised, overtaking her as the German broke stride into second and Cunha broke away in front.
With the top six bunching up in a tight arrow formation heading into the final lap, Cunha still led but Van Rouwendaal had moved into second +0.7 seconds behind with Beck +2.1 seconds off the front.
Cunha maintained her lead heading into the final stretch with Lee in second and Van Rouwendaal dropping to third in what was a clear battle between the top three for gold.
The sprint for the finish was intense. There was little doubt Cunha would finish first, but the battle for second went to the very end with Van Rouwendaal touching for silver ahead of Lee.
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