Ethiopia swept almost all the glory at the Dubai Marathon on Friday. Athletes from the Horn of Africa country dominated the honours list in both men and women categories.
Of the top 20 athletes at the end of the marathon, 18 Ethiopians were listed. Nine each in the men and women category.
Tamirat Tola won the men’s race in two hours, four minutes and eleven seconds, with that he set a new course record and personal best. He was followed by compatriots, Mule Wasihun and Sisay Lemma.
Despite winning and bagging the prize money of $200,000, Tola expressed disappointment at his failure to break the record which stood at 2 hours and 4 second. Tola had won the 10,000 meters at the World Championship in London.
The only non-Ethiopian in the top 10 was Kenya’s Mark Pkorir Lokwanamoi who ended the race in fifth position with a time of 2 hours, eight minutes and 36 seconds.
A sweep in women’s marathon
On the part of the women, Ethiopia’s Worknesh Degefa, Shure Demise and Arage Yebrgual finished in the first three spots respectively. The winner ended the race after two hours, 22 minutes and 35 seconds.
Another six Ethiopians follow in that order with the tenth position going to Finland’s Anne-Mari Hyrylainen.
Bad news for Ethiopian great, injured Bekele bows out
Triple Olympic champion, Bekele withdrew from the race after injuring himself shortly after the race started. The manager of the pre-race favourite blamed organizers with the view that Bekele fell as a result of a surge from behind.
Even though organizers say the fall was as a result of ‘unintentional contact,’ Jos Hermens is of the view that there is the need for a gap between elite athletes and other runners, Reuters news agency reports.
Bekele is on record as the second fastest man in marathon history. He was attempting to break a marathon world record after triumph in Berlin in September 2016. In the German capital, he finished just six seconds outside Dennis Kimetto’s world record of 2 hours, 2 minutes and 57 seconds.
Bekele, widely regarded as the greatest distance runner of all time and world record holder over 10,000 and 5,000 meters, has also said he is eyeing the world record at April’s London Marathon
From KB: Sorry for disappointing result. I was not able to show the good shape I was in due to unexpected incident at start.. I will be back pic.twitter.com/pe5krmsblp— Sub2hrsmarathon (@Sub2hrs) January 20, 2017