El Guerrouj Strides Into Olympic History


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ATHENS (Reuters) - Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj and Briton Kelly Holmes gave the Athens Games two of its greatest moments Saturday by surging to victory on the athletics track and claim historic Olympic doubles.

El Guerrouj won the men's5 , 000meters to add to his1 ,500 meters title, emulating the achievement of Finland's Paavo Nurmi way back in1924 .

"I had a message from a friend today saying that in 1997 Athens discovered a prince and now it would pay homage to a king," El Guerrouj said, referring to the first of his1 , 500meters world titles won in Greece seven years ago.

"This stayed with me. When I woke up today I said to myself: 'This is going to be my day'."

El Guerrouj's win decided one of the greatest head-to-heads of the Games -- a titanic tussle with Kenenisa Bekele who had been hoping to complete a double of his own by adding the5 , 000meters title to his 10, 000crown.

The Ethiopian had to settle for silver and19 -year-old world champion Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya took bronze.

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