Reinstated runner wins 1500m gold medal

Steve Larkin, NZ Newswire August 8, 2012, 9:44 am

A day after being chucked out of the Olympics for not trying, reinstated runner Taoufik Makhloufi said it was "the will of God" for him to win the men's 1500m gold medal at the London Games.

The Algerian was rubbed out of the 1500m race on Monday, when ruled to have not tried in his 800m heat.

Makhloufi qualified for the 1500m by winning a Sunday semi-final and reportedly wanted to pull out of the 800m, but Algerian officials failed to withdraw him before the deadline.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) banned him from competing in any further races, saying he had not made a bona fide effort in the 800m.

But the London Olympic organising committee later revoked the disqualification, allowing him to run in Tuesday night's final.

"It was the will of God," Makhloufi said.

"Yesterday I was out and today I was in. I dedicate this to all the people of Algeria and the Arab world."

Makhloufi's win came as Sir Chris Hoy's perfect golden ending to his Olympic career helped turn the London Games into the best of British affairs in more than a century.

Hoy became Britain's most successful Olympian, collecting his sixth gold medal by winning cycling's keirin.

His triumph came as the Brits celebrated their most successful Games in 104 years - 22 golds surpassed their previous best haul of 19 golds at the Beijing Olympics four years ago. In 1908 the British hosts won 56 gold medals.

This time around Olympic powerhouses China (34 gold medals) and the United States (30 golds) are the only nations ahead of the hosts on the medal tally.

Hoy, dubbed the Flying Scotsman, bettered the tally of fellow knight Steve Redgrave who won rowing gold at five successive Olympics.

"This is enough for me, this is the perfect end to my Olympic career," said Hoy.

"I can't put into words what it means to me."

The Brits also claimed the equestrian team show jumping gold on a day megastar Usain Bolt returned the track.

A chilled Bolt jogged through the final 80 metres of his heat in the 200m, an event he reckons he must win to confirm his legend status.

But Bolt, who won the blue riband 100m two days ago, expressed sympathy post-race for Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang, whose recent Olympic curse continued.

Liu won Olympic gold in 2004 Olympic champion but his past two Games have ended in heartbreak.

On home turf in Beijing four years ago, Liu didn't clear a hurdle - withdrawing from his race with an achilles injury.

In London, Liu hit his first hurdle and crashed to the track.

The 29-year-old eventually got to his feet, hopped down the track and was embraced by fellow competitors before leaving the arena in a wheelchair.

Bolt said he felt the pain of Liu.

"He is one of the best, hands down," said Bolt.

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