Dubai: Tsegaye Mekonnen Asefa enjoyed a fairytale race as the 18-year-old from Ethiopia became the youngest ever to win the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon menâ€™s event on Friday.
Asefa won the US$200,000 (Dh734,600) first prize.
Asefa finished in a time of 2 hours 4 minutes 32 seconds to lead an Ethiopian clean sweep ahead of compatriots Markos Geneti (second in 2:05:13) and Girmay Birhanu Gebru (third in 2:05:49).
It was a double delight for Asefa as he also broke the unofficial world junior record by 95 seconds. His time was also the second fastest ever in the Dubai Marathon.
The fourth and fifth places were also clinched by Ethiopians, with Tamirat Tola Adera finishing in 2:06:17, followed by Azmeraw Bekele Molalign in 2:07:12.
But the Ethiopian women did even better. They clinched the first nine positions, with Mulu Seboka winning in 2:25:01. Seboka was followed by Meselech Melkamu Haileyesus in 2:25:23 and Firehiwot Dado was third in 2:25:53.
Seboka finished 11th in Dubai two years ago and, though her time this year was below her personal best of 2:23:48, she proved that at the age of 30 she is still going strong.
The race was witnessed by legendary Moroccan runner Said Aouita, and Liverpool football legend Robbie Fowler took part in the 3km Fun Run.
The 10km races saw Kenyan runners winning both the menâ€™s and womenâ€™s events.
John Ndugu won the menâ€™s in 28:56, followed by Feysa Dejene Amosha of Ethiopia in 28:58 and Ihya Bin Yousuf of Morocco in 29:32.
The womenâ€™s race saw Gladys Jemaiyo win in 33:40, while her compatriot Sheila Jeptoo Rono was second in 35:03 and Selma Wale Mired of Ethiopia third in 35:44.
Thousands of Ethiopians who were among the spectators danced in joy as one runner after from their country crossed the finish line.
2014 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon
1. Tsegaye Mekonnen Asefa (ETH) 2:04:32
2. Markos Geneti (ETH) 2:05:13
3. Girmay Birhanu (ETH) 2:05:49
4. Tamirat Tola (ETH) 2:06:17
5. Azmeraw Bekele (ETH) 2:07:12
6. Shumi Dechase (ETH) 2:07:13
7. Abrha Milaw (ETH) 2:07:46
8. Abera Kassw (ETH) 2:08:18
9. Abdeimounaim Harroufi USA 2:09:11
10. Belachew Alemay (ETH) 2:09:50
1. Mula Seboka (ETH) 2:25:01
2. Meselech Melkamu (ETH) 2:25:23
3. Firehiwot Dado (ETH) 2:25:53
4. Meseret Hailu (ETH) 2:26.20
5. Betelhem Moges (ETH) 2:26:42
6. Amane Gobena (ETH) 2:27:05
7. Fantu Eticha (ETH) 2:27.36
8. Goitetom Haftu (ETH) 2:27:44
9. Sechale Dalasa (ETH) 2:27:47
10. Sultan Haydar (TUR) 2:27:54
1. John Ndugu (KEN) 28:56
2. Feysa Dejene Amosha of (ETH) 28:58
3. Ihya Bin Yousuf (MOR) 28:32
1. Gladys Jemaiyo (KEN) 33:40
2. Sheila Jeptoo Rono (KEN) 35:01
3. Selam Wale Mihret of (ETH) 35:55
Original article appeared in Gulf NewsÂ