Former Dubai Marathon champion Tirfi Tsegaye of Ethiopia will be looking for a successful return to the Middle East when she joins the field for the 2016 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on 22 January, organisers of the IAAF Gold Label Road Race announced on Sunday (20).
The 31-year-old Ethiopian won the 2013 Dubai Marathon title in 2:23:23 and can boast of a personal best of 2:20:18, which she set when winning the 2014 Berlin Marathon
With other marathon wins in Paris (2012), Porto (her marathon debut 2008), Shanghai (2010) and Tokyo (2014), Tsegaye will again be one of the favourites in Dubai and will also be looking for a fast time which will boost her chances of selection for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
She will also be looking to make a statement in the 19th marathon of her career after finishing eighth at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 when she went to the Chinese capital with medal aspirations.
“The demand to compete in Dubai remains as high as ever but it is always pleasing to welcome back former winners of the event,” said Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon Event Director Peter Connerton.
“The course is always flat and fast, which is a major factor in an Olympic year as the athletes target Rio 2016.
“Since winning in Dubai, Tsegaye has enjoyed a very successful spell, including marathon wins in Tokyo and Berlin in the space of seven months so we expect her to be a key figure in next month’s race.”
Dubai can also point to the noteworthy fact that it was the first marathon to have three women complete the classic distance in under 2:20, which occurred in 2012.
IAAF Council Member and UAE Athletics Federation President Ahmed Al Kamali commented: “The records over the past five years are there for all to see and underline the incredible strength in depth and overall quality throughout the elite field at the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon.
“But while we are focused on providing a world-class event for the elites, we are equally determined to provide the best marathon experience for amateur runners as well as those who simply like to get outdoors and join us for the Fun Run.
“The whole day embraces sport and the UAE community, while delivering a world-class event for athletics’ finest long distance runners,” he added.