DUBAI // For the second year in succession, an Ethiopian making his long-distance debut claimed first place in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon.
Lelisa Desisa Benti, who celebrated his 23rd birthday earlier this month, claimed a belated present in the form of a cheque for $200,000 (Dh720,000) after completing the emirate’s 42.1km course in two hours, four minutes and 45 seconds.
On crossing the finish line, Desisa – enveloped in a low-lying fog – fell to his knees as a throng of nearby African spectators, waving Ethiopian flags and dressed in reds and yellow and greens, increased the volume of their perpetual cheering.
The four fastest times recorded in the men’s event were all set by Ethiopians, but it was Desisa who made the late breakaway despite compatriot Berhanu Shiferaw Tolcha appearing best placed to claim the top prize. Shiferaw finished three seconds behind the winner, while Tadese Tola Woldegeberel was a further second behind.
In the women's race Ethiopia were equally as dominant. Tirfi Tsegaye Beyene, with a winning time of two hours, 23 minutes and 23 seconds, edged compatriot Ehitu Kiros Reda by 16 seconds to led a top 5 sweep for the African nation.
1 » Desisa Benti, Lelisa (ETH) 02:04:45
2 » Shiferaw Tolcha, Berhanu (ETH) 02:04:48
3 » Tola Woldegeberel, Tadese (ETH) 02:04:49
4 » Negesse Shumi, Endeshaw (ETH) 02:04:52
5 » Kiprop Koech, Bernard (KEN) 02:04:53
1 » Tsegaye Beyene, Tirfi (ETH) 02:23:23
2 » Kiros Reda, Ehitu (ETH) 02:23:39
3 » Gobena Gemeda, Amane (ETH) 02:23:50
4 » Kiros Abeye, Aheza (ETH) 02:24:30
5 » Oljira Jemama, Belaynesh (ETH) 02:25:01
& Gary Meenaghan