Ethiopian athletes continued their dominance of the Xiamen Marathon as defending champion Dejene Debela retained the men’s title in 2:09:26 while compatriot Medina Deme Armino won the women’s race in 2:27:25.
With their teammates filling the top three spots in both races, it was the third consecutive Ethiopian double podium sweep in Xiamen.
The tall and strong Debela, who will celebrate his 24th birthday on Wednesday, led the race almost from the start to the finish to become the first back-to-back men’s winner in the 17-year history of the race.
His winning mark of 2:09:26 is nearly two minutes faster than his clocking in Xiamen last year. It is also his second sub-2:10 performance to date, following his 2:07:10 PB set in Dubai two years ago.
Afewerk Mesfin trailed two seconds behind Debela to finish second in 2:09:28, breaking the PB of 2:09:49 he set at the 2013 Dubai marathon while Birhan Nebebew clocked 2:09:36 to finish third in what was only his second race over the classic distance.
Armino improved her career best by almost two minutes to upset a strong field and win the women’s race in 2:27:25.
The 21-year-old has contested five marathons since making her debut at the distance in 2016, winning the four most recent races and improving her PB each time.
Shasho Insermu finished second in 2:27:25 while Fantu Jimma took third place in 2:29:55, the same place she achieved in Xiamen three years ago.
Ethiopian women athletes have dominated the Xiamen marathon for the past 10 years.