African-born athletes help Bahrain sweeps medals at Asian championships

KOBE, Japan — Tejitu Daba Chalchissa and Dejenee Regasa Mootumaa led Bahrain to a sweep of the 5,000-meter races at the Asian Athletics Championships here today.

The Ethiopian-born Chalchissa won the women’s race in a championship-record time of 15 minutes, 22.48 seconds. Japan filled the next two places, Hitomi Niiya crossing in 15:34.19 and Yuriko Kobayashi in 15:42.59.

The 19-year-old Chalchissa has now qualified for the Aug.27-Sept.4 world championships in Daegu, South Korea.

“It’s an important win for me,” Chalchissa said. “This was a good competition and it will give me a lot of confidence.”

Mootumaa, also born in Ethiopia, pulled away from Japanese runner Yuki Sato and teammate Alemu Bekele Gebre in the last 100 meters of the men’s race to complete the double for Bahrain with a time of 13:39.71, also a championship record.

Sato took second in 13:40.78 and Gebre was next in 13:41.93.


Bahrain also won both the men’s and women’s 10,000 races on the opening day of the meet. Mahboob Ali Hassan (Kenyan-born) finished first followed by another Ethiopian-born athlete Bilsuma Shugi Gelasa.

It was a distance double for Bahrain as Shitaye Eshete Habtegebrel, a 21-year-old Bahraini of Ethiopian origin, outsmarted the Asian Games champion from India, Preeja Sreedharan, in the women’s 10,000m.

Bahrain currently seats second behind China  in medal counts with 5 gold, 2 bronze and 2 silver.