Aug 23, 2008 at 06:00pm IST

Kenya's Bungei leads from the front to win men's 800m

Beijing: Kenya's Wilfred Bungei recorded an impressive gun to tape victory in the Olympic men's 800m final on Saturday.

Bungei, the 2006 world indoor champion who owns the fifth-fastest time ever, finished in 1min 44.65sec, his best time of the year.

Sudan's Ismail Ahmed Ismail, eighth at the 2004 Olympics, was second in 1:44.70 with Kenya's Alfred Kirwa Yego, the reigning world champion, third on 1:44.82.

SWEAT AND GLORY: Kenya's Wilfred Bungei celebrates winning the gold in the men's 800-meter final.

The 28-year-old Bungei, who finished fifth in the Athens Games, and Yego went straight out into lead, closely followed by the Algerian duo of Nadjim Manseur and Nabil Madi.

Bungei led the pack through the first lap in 53.35sec, and succeeded in thinning out the field when he accelerated down the far straight.

Ismail and fast-finishing Cuban Yeimar Lopez surged past Yego but couldn't make up the gap Bungei had built up.

The Kenyan hit the home stretch three meters ahead, his flailing arms propelling him to his country's third track and field gold medal at this Olympics.

Yego was boxed in in fifth but went wide to pass Canada's world silver medallist Gary Reed and Lopez for bronze.

The race had been hit by the absence of Russia's defending champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy, and pre-race favourites Mbulaeni Mulauduzi of South Africa and Sudanese prodigy Abubaker Kaki, who all failed to qualify for the final.