Race to the top: Ethiopians turn tables on Kenyans, dominate marathon

In the traditional fight over dominance between Ethiopian and Kenyan runners at Pune Marathon, the former came out on top to snatch Full Marathon and Half Marathon prizes for men.

By: Express News Service | Pune | Updated: December 7, 2015 5:01 am
Ethiopian runner, Kenyan runners, pune marathon, pune half marathon  international, pune news Participants of the under-14 Boys and Girls competition in Pune International Marathon, on Sunday. (Sandeep Daundkar))

In the traditional fight over dominance between Ethiopian and Kenyan runners at Pune Marathon, the former came out on top to snatch Full Marathon and Half Marathon prizes for men, while a Tanzanian bagged the Half Marathon (International) prize in womens’ category. Last year, Kenyan runner Amos Maiyo Maidi had won the race, beating Ethiopian Regassa Bejiga. This year, 33-year-old Ethiopian Belay Abadoyo finished first beating Maidi, who was favourite to win the race. Abadoyo completed the race in 2 hours 17 minutes and 35 seconds, beating Maidi who was just behind him. Maidi bettered his last year record of 2 hours 18 minutes and 36 seconds, but failed to keep his position. In the list of top 10 finishers, apart from Maidi, all others were from Ethiopia. Mekasha Alemu finished third, clocking 2 hours 17 minutes and 37 seconds.

In the Half Marathon of Men, 21-year-old Ethiopian Daniel Muteti came out on top to win the race of 21 km in 1 hour 2 minutes and 14 seconds. Kenyan Tafese Abebe came second clocking 1 hour 2 minutes 22 seconds. Sedeku Alelegn was the only Indian on the list. He finished fourth with a timing of 1 hour 2 minutes 55 seconds. In the Womens’ Half Marathon International event, Dorcas Kithome of Tanzania completed the event in 1 hour 11 minutes and 48 seconds. Kenyan Hellen Musyoka finished second, trailing Kithome by just one second. Bentu Wodajo of Ethiopia finished third.

Talking after the Marathon, Abadoyo said, “I’m happy to make my country proud again. I had prepared well for the event. Traditionally, Ethiopians have performed well in the city, I’m happy to join their club.” Abadoyo bettered his previous record at PIM. Last year, in January, Abadoyo had completed Tiberias International Marathon in Israel in 2:17:42. Last year’s winner Maidi also expressed joy over finishing second. “I feel a bit disappointed not having finished first; but it was very close. I belong to a country which has given the best athletes to the world and I will keep fighting. I’m looking forward to participate in the upcoming Marathon.”

Tanzanian Dorcas Kithome also expressed joy over winning the International Womens’ Half Marathon. “It was a good experience to run in the marathon. It was a lot tougher than I had expected,” she said. While Abadoyo bagged the cash prize of Rs 3,50,000; Kithome received prize money Rs 2,00,000. As many as 150 foreign athletes had participated in this year’s international marathon, while the local contestants across the 16 categories of the event were nearly 20,000. Most of the participants were amateur runners. Wheelchair Marathon and U-14 marathon events also got a good response from the participants. Compared to last year, there were less spectators for the event. Many blamed it on the change of route. “The runners themselves are feeling like they’re in a maze. How will the spectators come to know where the race is taking place?” said Anmol Jadhav, a participant.

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