Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ethiopia’s Gebre-Egziabher Gebremariam victorious in Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal (IAAF) – Reigning World Cross Country champion Gebregziabher Gebremariam opened the IAAF Cross Country Permit season with a victory at the Oeiras Cross Country on Saturday.

The 25-year-old Ethiopian proved his power in Oeiras over the elements – strong winds and hard rains – as well as his opponents. From the outset a group of six ran together at the front and followed a strong pace: Gebremariam, his countryman Tariku Bekele who won in Oeiras in 2004 (and was second in 2005), the Kenyans Edwin Kuambai and Kiprono Menjo (third in Oeiras in 2006), Italian cross country champion Andrea Lalli, and the surprise in the field, the Portuguese Eduardo Mbengani.

Lap after lap, the lead group grew smaller and in the last of the five laps we saw a strong finish sprint between the young Portuguese and the world champion. At the line, Gebremariam take the victory, just one second ahead of Mbengani.

“This wasn´t as easy as some may think,” Gebremariam said. “I’m pleased with the course, it was very good. But the weather was not so good – too much wind and rain – but I’m training to achieve my goals and this event was wonderful for my preparation». He also said that he was pleased to pull off the win over a long sustained sprint against Mbengani. “I’m happy to see that are good runners in Portugal. I tried to help him, but in the final I made my move.”

“This was a surprise,” said Mbengani. “I didn’t expect to be second in this cross, but this was the mirror of my preparation, which wasn’t so good at all because of some injury problems. I’m very happy to achieve my first goal: to make a good showing to get on the national team for the European Cross Country Championships.”

Finishing in third place was Kiprono Menjo, repeating his finish from 2006, followed by the European hope, Italy’s Andrea Lalli, who was fourth ahead of Edwin Kuambai. In fifth place was the Portuguese veteran (41 years old) José Ramos, one second ahead of José Rocha, the winner of last weekend’s contest in Torres Vedras. Bekele was a distant eighth, more than 50 seconds behind the winner.

Portuguese podium sweep – women’s race

In the women’s event, as with predicted, the Portuguese women lived up to their billing as the favourites. Jessica Augusto, who failed to start last weekend in Torres Vedras, moved herself to the lead and showed everybody why she was last year’s European championships runner-up. With a solid pace she moved ahead a created a strong advantage between the following group, which included Inês Monteiro, the European bronze medallist last year, and Anália Rosa. Upping the tempo, they left Kenyan Milka Jerotich more than 90 metres behind.

After them Ana Dias, fifth here the last two years, repeated this place and prove her candidature to the national team.

”The win wasn’t easy,” Augusto said. “It’s never easy win in Oeiras, because this is a tough course. I’m very happy to win today, I expect to get to the national team and I’m doing my best to go there and try to get another medal.”

António Manuel Fernandes for the IAAF

Leading Results -

MEN (9000m):
1. Gebre Gebrmariam ETH 24.41
2. Eduardo Mbengani POR 24.42
3. Kiprono Menjo KEN 24.45
4. Andrea Lalli ITA 24.56
5. Edwin Kuambai KEN 25.19
6. José Rocha POR 25.24
7. José Ramos POR 25.25
8. Tariku Bekele ETH 25.30

WOMEN (5000m):
1. Jessica Augusto POR 15.39
2. Inês Monteiro POR 15.49
3. Anália Rosa POR 15.51
4. Milka Jerotich KEN 16.11
5. Ana Dias POR 16.14
6. Sara Moreira POR 16.17
7. Leonor Carneiro POR 16.23
8. Mónica Rosa POR 16.28

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Great Ethiopian Run will take place Sunday

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA ( — Marathon runner Chala Dechasa will headline the men’s field at the 2009 Ethiopian Airlines Great Ethiopian Run international road race in Addis Ababa on Sunday November 22nd 2009 in what is expected to be another competitive elite contest among Ethiopia’s top club runners.

The 21-year old, who had finished second in the 2008 Amsterdam Marathon, shocked many observers last year when beating experienced runners like Deriba Merga and Gebregziabher Gebremariam to take the first major victory of his career. Dechasa has followed up that victory with victory in the Ethiopian Mountain Running Championships, a 12km mountain race in Addis Ababa earlier this year, but has struggled to match his winning exploits over the full marathon.

His closest challenger is expected to be Feyisa Lelisa, who finished second last year, and finished fourteenth in the 2009 World Cross Country Championships in Amman, Jordan. Lelisa has since made his debut over the full marathon clocking 2:12.24 to take victory in Dublin, Ireland last month.

The top two finishers from last year’s race will not have an easy ride this year as an emerging group of track and road runners will hope to take aim at the spotlight. The track contingent is led by national 3000m steeplechase record holder Yacob Jarso, who finished fourth in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and fifth in the 2009 world championships over the steeplechase. Former world junior 10,000m champion and 2008 world junior cross country champion Ibrahim Jeylan; 2007 national 5000m champion Dejen Gebremeskel; 2008 world junior 10,000m bronze medallist Hunegnaw Mesfin; and steeplechaser Abraham Kabeto hope to translate their form from the track to the road. Dereje Hailegiorgis and African junior 5000m champion Abera Kuma, who finished fifth and eighth respectively in the corresponding race last year; are also runners to watch out.

An increasing number of road runners also hope to use the race as a speed test for upcoming marathons. Leading the way are Eshetu Wondimu, who finished 3rd in the 2009 Dubai Marathon in 2:08.03; Tilahun Regassa, a 59:36 half marathon runner who finished 11th in the world half marathon championships in October; and Solomon Tsige, who won the Hamburg Marathon earlier this year in 2:11.12.

As is the tradition of the Great Ethiopian Run, a strong Kenyan contingent will bid to create a surprise in the home of Ethiopians. No Kenyan man or woman has won the Great Ethiopian Run in the previous eight editions with Nathan Naibei’s second place finish in 2005 the best result by a non-Ethiopian in the event’s history.

As many as four Kenyans will line up in this year’s race hoping to better Naibei’s achievement. The leading runner is Edwin Kimaiyo, who clocked 61.04 to finish tenth in the Berlin half marathon in April this year. Fellow half marathoner Geoffrey Ngugi, who has a personal best of 62.18 for the half marathon; world junior 5000m silver medallist Kennedy Kithuka; and Gordon Muji Mahugu complete the line-up.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dibaba sets world record, Sihine wins men's event

NIJMEGEN (Netherlands) - Ethiopia's double Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba improved the 15km world record on Sunday on her way to victory in the IAAF Seven Hills Run here.

The 5,000m and 10,000m Olympic champion clocked 46min 28sec to better the previous mark of 46:55 which was set by Japan's Kayoko Fukushi in Marugame on February 5, 2006.

Four-time world champion Dibaba, 24, already holds the world record over 5,000m. She has also won two world cross-country titles.

In the men's event, Ethiopia's Sileshi Sihine won a sprint finish in 42:14 ahead of Uganda's Nicholas Kiprono.

Sihine, Tirunesh Dibaba's husband, had won the event twice already, with victories in 2004 and 2007, according to IAAF. In 2004 he came within nine seconds of Limo’s World record, a performance which still marks him as the ninth fastest over the distance. Sihine, 27, won Olympic silver in the 10,000m in both 2004 and 2008. His third victory comes in after a recovery from an injury.

Sihine's sprint finish edged out Kiprono, who's the national record holder of Uganda.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gebremariam and Dibaba secure Ethiopian double in Spain

Atapuerca (Burgos), Spain – Reigning World Cross Country champion Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam of Ethiopia captured a thrilling sprint victory ahead of Spain’s Alemayehu Bezabeh as the new Spanish Cross Country season kicked off with the ‘6th Cross Internacional de Atapuerca’ today on a cold and very windy day.

On the women’s side, Ethiopia’s current World junior Cross Country champion Genzebe Dibaba snatched a convincing eight-second win over Kenya’s Ines Chenonge.

MEN – Gebremariam defeats quality line-up

The 8.76km men’s race offered a star-studded field with no less than four top-10 finishers from the last World Cross Country championships in contention - Gebremariam, the Kenyan pair of Mathew Kisorio (6th) and Mark Kiptoo (7th) plus the Eritrean Teklemariam Medhin (9th).

It was the powerful Eritrean contingent – also comprising Samuel Tsegay, who was a solid fifth at last month’s World Half Marathon Championships with a 1:00:17 PB – that ruled the race in the early stages while the hot favourites Gebremariam and the Ethiopian-born Bezabeh ran comfortably tucked behind.

Firstly the Ethiopian and then the Spaniard were in charge of the leading group but it was Medhin who made a decisive move with the clock reading 16 minutes; only Gebremariam and Bezabeh could live with his frantic pace.

However, the 20-year-old Eritrean started to fade once he was overtaken by his rivals with last year’s victor Bezabeh pushing hard inside the last kilometre while Gebremariam remained at the Spaniard’s shoulder with ease. The key moment came with some 80m left when the reigning World champion found another gear to pass Bezabeh and romp home in 24:41 while the Spaniard was given the same time. Medhin completed a classy podium three seconds in arrears.

The winner was quoted as saying: “Before the race, I was worried because of the bad weather but as long as the race developed I felt better and better. I was making my cross country debut for the season so my performance was really a question mark. Happily, everything was fine in the end. Once the race got underway I realised the wind was very annoying and decided to save energy for the final sprint.”

As for Bezabeh, the 23-year-old Madrid-based rising star declared: “I’m satisfied with my result although the wind prevented my victory in the sprint. Anyway I have been beaten by the World champion!”

WOMEN – Dibaba’s successful start on the senior scene

The women’s 4.825km contest soon became a two-horse battle in the guise of double (2008 & 2009) World Junior Cross Country champion Genzebe Dibaba and Kenya’s Ines Chenonge, a creditable 10th placed last March in Amman.

The 27-year-old Kenyan dictated the early pace of the race with only the youngest of the Dibaba sisters for company. Last summer, both athletes clashed on the occasion of the World Championships in Berlin over 5000m with Chenonge (sixth) prevailing over Dibaba, who finished eighth at the age of 18.

The Ethiopian, who is still eligible for the Junior race at next March’s World XC Championships to be held in Bydgoszcz, injected a brisker pace with 500m to go and found no answer from Chenonge, taking away some kind of revenge from her Berlin loss to the Kenyan. Dibaba, who is also the reigning World Junior 5000m silver medallist, was timed at 14:53 while Chenonge crossed the line eight seconds adrift.

The fight for the minor place on the podium became a tight sprint between two reigning European bronze medallists such as Portugal’s Ines Monteiro (Cross Country) and Ireland’s Mary Cullen (3000m indoors) with the 29-year-old Monteiro getting the better of the Irishwoman by just one second although well back (22 seconds) from the winner.

Spain’s World 3000m Steeplechase champion Marta Domínguez came a distant 19th some 1:31 behind Dibaba; reportedly, the 34-year-old Spaniard is far from her best form due to the number of media and publicity appearances on her schedule since winning the European Athlete of the Year honour.

Emeterio Valiente for the IAAF

Leading Results -

Men (8.760m)
1. Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam (Ethiopia) 24:41
2. Alemayehu Bezabeh (Spain) 24:41
3. Teklemariam Medhin (Eritrea) 24:44
4. Samuel Tsegay (Eritrea) 25:05
5. Mark Kiptoo (Kenya) 25:24
6. Sergio Sánchez (Spain) 25:27
7. Ayad Lamdassem (Spain) 25:30
8. Amanuel Messel (Eritrea) 25:32
9. Javier Guerra (Spain) 25:50
10. Francisco Javier López (Spain) 25:54

Women (4.825m)
1. Genzebe Dibaba(Ethiopia) 14:53
2. Ines Chenonge (Kenya) 15:01
3. Ines Monteiro (Por) 15:05
4. Mary Cullen (Ireland) 15:06
5. Fortuna Zegergish (Eritrea) 15:39
6. Gladys Cherono (Kenya) 15:41
7. Arienne Herzog (The Netherlands) 15:45
8. Nuria Fernández (Spain) 15:45
9. Sara Moreira (Portugal) 15:47
10. Iris Fuentes-Pila (Spain) 15:50

Source: IAAF

Monday, November 2, 2009

Derartu Tulu of Ethiopia Wins New York Marathon Women’s Race

By Dex McLuskey

Nov. 1 (Bloomberg) --Derartu Tulu of Ethiopia won the women’s race at the New York Marathon.

The 37-year-old Tulu collected 10,000-meter gold medals at the Olympic Games in 1992 and 2000 and last won a major marathon in London in 2001.

Russian Ludmila Petrova was runner-up for the second straight year, Christelle Daunay of France was third and two- time defending champion Paula Radcliffe, the world-record holder from the U.K., was fourth.

Ethiopia's Merga wins New Delhi Half Marathon

NEW DELHI (AP) — Deriba Merga of Ethiopia retained his New Delhi Half Marathon title Sunday, while Kenya's Mary Keitany dominated the women in a race joined by thousands of Indian participants.
Merga, who this year won the Houston and Boston Marathons, faced stiff competition from compatriot Eshetu Wendimu and last year's runner-up Wilson Kipsang of Kenya over the 21.1 kilometers (13.1 miles) before winning in 59:54 minutes, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

Wendimu finished second in 1:00:02, followed by Kipsang with 1:00:04.

In the women's category, Keitany took 1:06:54 to reach the finish line ahead of Ethiopia's Ayelew Wude (1:07:58) and compatriot Aberu Kebede (1:07:59).

The Indian Olympics Association chief Suresh Kalmadi started the race, that included 8,429 participants, including 266 foreigners.