LONDON (Reuters) - Australia's Anna Meares overcame arch-rival Victoria Pendleton to win the Olympic track cycling women's sprint title on Tuesday but the event ended on a sour note for the retiring Briton, who was relegated in the first leg.
Pendleton was adjudged to have left the sprinting lane, drawing boos from the raucous home crowd when the decision was announced.
It was Meares's second Olympic title after she won gold in the time trial in Athens eight years ago and exacted a modicum of revenge over Pendleton who beat her to the sprint title in Beijing.
"Victoria is such a hard-fought opponent and she's dominated the sport for so long," Meares told reporters.
"It's been such a difficult challenge and to be able to win the Olympic title for me, it's so special. I've tried so much and worked so hard for a long period of time and I've asked a lot of people around me to do the same so it feels like this is a just reward."
For Pendleton, who is retiring after the Olympics and had already claimed a gold in the keirin, it was a disappointing end to a glittering career that delivered two Games golds and nine world titles.
"I'm very glad to be saying this is the last time I am going to go through that," Pendleton, who was also relegated in the team sprint competition, told the BBC.
"I was really annoyed because I am sure that she touched me (on the first leg) and it caused me to move up (out of her lane). I can't believe twice in one competition I've been relegated, disqualified and relegated.
"It's unheard of. So yeah, bit of a surprise. It did knock my confidence a bit, I have to say. I really tried in that last ride but...sorry," she said before starting to cry.
"I can't believe it's all over."
China's Guo Shuang won the bronze after beating Germany's Kristina Vogel.
(Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Mark Meadows and Ed Osmond)