Saturday, April 21, 2012

Ethiopian runner rules Jeddah Mobily Marathon

Open and Professional category winner Darji Tasfal Hewot receives his trophy from Jeddah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Majed. Others in picture are Mazen Batarjee and Abdullah Bakhashab.
Under the patronage of Prince Mishal bin Majed, Jeddah governor and chairman of the Jeddah Mobily Marathon 2012 Higher Committee, the marathon awarding ceremony was held at Elaf Jeddah Hotel Wednesday, where winners received their prizes.

Participants reached 8,000, according to the organizers who said the size of the field has been increasingly growing each year. The event is annually organized by Al Birr Charitable Society.

First places in the three races received Mazda cars from Haji Husein Alireza and Co.Ltd. in addition to other cash and vouchers from sponsors.

Darji Tasfal Hewot from Ethiopia won the Open (18 above) and Professional category in the 21-kilometer race, finishing the distance in 66 minutes, while Abdullah Al-Bishri finished the distance in 92 minutes to top the Saudi category.

In the under-18 race, Ibrahim Hasan Muhammad from Chad ranked first finishing the 6-kilometer distance in 18 minutes; Muhammad Ismael Alsubiani was first among Saudis as he negotiated the distance in 20 minutes. In the special needs (wheelchair) race, Adam Ahmad Shareef won the first place, finishing the 3 kilometers in 10 minutes. Humoud Al-Ghubaini, Ittihad Ettisalat (Mobily) vice-president for Public Relations, announced the company will continue sponsoring the event in the coming years. “The marathon has become the biggest sport event in Jeddah and participants and private and government sponsors and supporters increase every year,” he said in a speech. “With the support of the government and businessmen the marathon can go international,” he added.

Thamer Shaker, Nesma’s director of Human Resources and Social Responsibility division, said the company looks to have full distance of 42.195 kilometers in future competition.  The annual sport-charity event first started nine years ago in cooperation with Nesma Holding CEO Saleh Al-Turki and Al Birr Society Chairman Mazen Batarjee. “The goal is to encourage organizations and companies to implement the concept of corporate social responsibility as well as encourage sports in the Kingdom,” he said.

The marathon proceeds will to go to the Al Bir Society to fund its charitable activities including sponsoring orphans and providing medical care for those in need, said Abdullah Bakhashab, head of the organizing committee. Bakhashab hoped to have a Saudi winner at the Open and Professional race.

“Every year international participants finish well ahead of Saudi runners,” he said. He reiterated Prince Mishal’s call for training Saudi runners to perform better in next events.