Ethiopia Rule Supreme in Dubai Marathon

18-year-old Tsegaye Mekonnen Asefa, top, returns best time ever for juniors and Mula Seboka Seyfu touching the finishing line during the Dubai Marathon. (Photographs: Khaleej Times)

Khaleej Times

By Moni Mathews

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.

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