Ethiopian Athletes dominate Dubai marathon

 

Dubai (Khaleej Times) – Ayele Abshero led home an Ethiopian clean sweep in the elite men’s race of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on Friday morning, breaking the course record by half a minute.

The 21-year-old, competing in his first-ever, fully-fledged marathon, clocked 2:04:23s to knock 30 seconds off the prior best here set by legendary compatriot Haile Gebrselassie four years ago.

He was followed in by compatriot Dino Kemal 27 seconds further back in what would have been another course-record time (2:04:50s) were it not for Abshero’s heroics, with fellow countryman Markos Geneti (2:04:54s) completing the podium places in third position.

Abshero, the former World junior Cross Country champion (2009), also established himself as a leading contender for Ethiopia’s Olympic trio, if not victory at London 2012.

Abshero was part of the leading pack in the closing stages of the race and the bunched contenders progressively began to whittle down numerically (from nine to six and then five) as the finish line on Emaar Boulevard drew closer.

He and Kemal eventually decided to make a concerted break at the 39-kilometre mark and it soon became clear that the latter wasn’t going to be able to withstand Abshero’s belated burst of pace.

To his credit though, Kemal – despite suffering the effects of a leg injury late on – stayed in second through to the line as the three challengers behind him all finished within 20 seconds of his time.

Geneti was just four seconds off Kemal’s silver medal in the final reckoning, whereas Jonathan Maiyo, of Kenya, and Ethiopian Tadesa Tola – in fourth and fifth respectively – were only two and six seconds further back in the field.

Abshero, whose most notable feat apart from his World junior Cross Country victory was beating (a less than fully fit) Kenenisa Bekele in a 15Km road race three years ago, maintained that his finishing time was his target.

“I thought I could run 2:04 today,” he said, “but it’s hard to plan for your first Marathon, really I just didn’t know what was going to happen. But I’m very happy. I’m now the number one in Ethiopia, and I think it could be the Olympic Games for me.”

Abshero is only headed historically by the Kenyans Patrick Makau with his world record 2:03:38 and Wilson Kipsang (2:03:42), and his illustrious colleague Haile Gebrselassie (2:03:59). But breaking Gebrselassie’s Dubai course record by 30 seconds ensured further cachet for the youngster.

Dubai (Khaleej Times) – Ayele Abshero led home an Ethiopian clean sweep in the elite men’s race of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on Friday morning, breaking the course record by half a minute.

The 21-year-old, competing in his first-ever, fully-fledged marathon, clocked 2:04:23s to knock 30 seconds off the prior best here set by legendary compatriot Haile Gebrselassie four years ago.

Abshero, the former World junior Cross Country champion (2009), also established himself as a leading contender for Ethiopia’s Olympic trio, if not victory at London 2012.

He was followed in by compatriot Dino Kemal 27 seconds further back in what would have been another course-record time (2:04:50s) were it not for Abshero’s heroics, with fellow countryman Markos Geneti (2:04:54s) completing the podium places in third position.

Abshero was part of the leading pack in the closing stages of the race and the bunched contenders progressively began to whittle down numerically (from nine to six and then five) as the finish line on Emaar Boulevard drew closer.

He and Kemal eventually decided to make a concerted break at the 39-kilometre mark and it soon became clear that the latter wasn’t going to be able to withstand Abshero’s belated burst of pace.

To his credit though, Kemal – despite suffering the effects of a leg injury late on – stayed in second through to the line as the three challengers behind him all finished within 20 seconds of his time.

Geneti was just four seconds off Kemal’s silver medal in the final reckoning, whereas Jonathan Maiyo, of Kenya, and Ethiopian Tadesa Tola – in fourth and fifth respectively – were only two and six seconds further back in the field.

Abshero, whose most notable feat apart from his World junior Cross Country victory was beating (a less than fully fit) Kenenisa Bekele in a 15Km road race three years ago, maintained that his finishing time was his target.

“I thought I could run 2:04 today,” he said, “but it’s hard to plan for your first Marathon, really I just didn’t know what was going to happen. But I’m very happy. I’m now the number one in Ethiopia, and I think it could be the Olympic Games for me.”

Abshero is only headed historically by the Kenyans Patrick Makau with his world record 2:03:38 and Wilson Kipsang (2:03:42), and his illustrious colleague Haile Gebrselassie (2:03:59). But breaking Gebrselassie’s Dubai course record by 30 seconds ensured further cachet for the youngster.

Women’s Marathon

In the equivalent women’s event, the reigning champion Aselefech Mergia, also of Ethiopia, defend her 2011 title in fine style by dipping underneath the course record by three minutes and 11 seconds with 2:19:31s.

Kenyan debutant Lucy Kabuu finished behind Mergia as the runner-up in 2:19:34s, while Mara Dibaba timed 2:19:52s to round off the top three overall.

Mergia and Kabuu appeared set for a keenly-contested, head-to-head battle as they approached the final straight with the 27-year-old newcomer narrowly ahead of the title holder.

However, Mergia – like Abshero – soon lengthened out her stride and kicked away clear of her rival by a mere three seconds in the end.

Mergia also won the world’s biggest marathon prize of $250,000 (women and men) for the second year in succession, and got the upper hand in the first international Marathon where three women went under 2.20.

10k Race

Meanwhile, in the 10km races, the UAE fared very well as Ethiopian-born Bethelehem Desalegn n (34:14s) finished ahead of Ethiopian duo Emebet Adane (34:44s) and Dehininet Jara (34:49s) in the women’s event.

Adane was representing the UAE Athletics Federation in the team category and the same set of circumstances applied in the men’s run to Ethiopia’s Dejene Feysa (28:57s), who finished third behind outright winner Tekle Sahle (28:47s), of Eritrea, and second-placed countryman Kidane Abdi (28:56s).

Leading RESULTS

MEN –

1. Ayele ABSHERO, ETH       2.04.23  $250,000

2. Dino SEFIR, ETH           2.04.50   100,000

3. Markos GENETI, ETH         2.04.54     50,000

4. Jonathon MAIYO, KEN       2.04.56     25,000

5. Tadese TOLA, ETH         2.05.10     15,000

6. Yami DADI, ETH           2.05.41     14,000

7. Abdullah DAWIT, ETH       2.05.42     13,000

8. Desressa CHIMSA, ETH     2.05.42     12,000

9. Seboka TOLA, ETH         2.06.17     11,000

10. Yemane TSEGAY, ETH       2.06.29     10,000

 

WOMEN –

1. Aselefech MERGIA, ETH       2.19.31  $250,000

2. Lucy KABUU, KEN             2.19.34   100,000

3. Mare DIBABA, ETH           2.19.52     50,000

4. Bezunesh BEKELE, ETH       2.20.30     25,000

5. Aberu KEBEDE, ETH           2.20.33     15,000

6. Lydia CHEROMEI, KEN         2.21.30     14,000

7. Sharon CHEROP, KEN         2.22.39     13,000

8. Atsede BAYSA, ETH           2.23.13     12,000

9. Mamitu DASKA, ETH           2.24.24     11,000

 

 

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