Sunday, January 26, 2014

Ethiopia rule supreme in Dubai Marathon

Tsegaye Mekonnen Asefa of Ethiopia, touching the finishing line during the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon at Umm Suqeim Road in Dubai on Friday,  January 24, 2014. KT photo by Juidin Bernarrd
18-year-old Tsegaye Mekonnen Asefa returns best time ever for juniors.


Ethiopia claimed the top five positions in the men’s section and the top nine spots in the women’s category in the 15th Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on Friday.

In conditions totally conducive for a marathon, the runner friendly flat course brought out the fastest overall timings for the second straight year.

In the process, Ethiopia introduced to the world another great in the making, when 18-year-old Tsegaye Mekonnen Asefa crossed the finish line in 2 hours 4 minutes and 32 seconds, well ahead of team-mates Markos Geneti Guteta and Girmay Birhanu Gebru, who were both a minute adrift off the winning time.

Tsegaye, who was running his first ever fully serious international marathon after specialising in the half marathon in recent months, also returned the best time ever for a junior in the world.

“The first 30km was well paced and competitive but after our main pace maker reduced his pace due to a thigh strain, I was all alone for the final stages, which definitely must have slowed me down a lot,” said Tsegaye, who now plans on buying a car and a house for his high altitude training in Ethiopa with his $200,000 first prize money.
Mula Seboka Seyfu of Ethiopia, touching the finishing line during the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon at Umm Suqeim Road in Dubai on January 24. KT photo by Juidin Bernarrd
Mula Seboka Seyfu led the Ethiopian rush to the podium in the women’s category with a 2:25:01 effort to push aside her team-mates Meselech Melkamu Haileysus (2:25:23) and Firehiwot Dado Tufa (2:25:53) into the silver and bronze berths.


“The first half was a bit slow at the beginning but by the 37km-38km stage, I was able to assert myself better and keep up the pressure,” said Mula.

Mula added: “The money - $200,000 is a lot - and I have to discuss with my husband before deciding on exactly what we will do with it. But, I know one thing for sure – a portion will be set aside for orphans in Ethiopia who have to have some help in their lives.”

Results:

Men

Mekonnen Asefa, Tsegaye            02:04:32
Geneti Guteta, Markos                   02:05:13
Birhanu Gebru, Girmay                 02:05:49
Tola Adera, Tamirat                        02:06:17
Bekele Molaign, Azmeraw            02:07:12
Dechase Leche, Shumi                   02:07:13
Milaw Asefa, Abrha                         02:07:46
Kassw Belay, Abera                         02:08:18
Harroufi, Abdeimounaim             02:09:11
Alemayehu Ameta, Belachew    02:09:50            
Women

Seboka Seyfu, Mula (ETH)                          02:25:01
Melkamu Haileyesus, Meselech (ETH)  02:25:23
Dado Tufa, Firehiwot (ETH)                        02:25:53
Hailu Debele, Meseret (ETH)                     02:26:20
Moges Cherenet, Betelhem (ETH)            02:26:42
Gobena Gemeda, Amane (ETH)                 02:27:05
Eticha Jimma, Fantu (ETH)                        02:27:36
Haftu Tessema, Goitetom (ETH)              02:27:44
Dalasa Adugna, Sechale (ETH)                  02:27:47
Haydar, Sultan (TUR)                                    02:27:54
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