Abebe Bikila 1960, 64& Feyisa Lilesa 2016


Monday, November 28, 2011

Desisa goes one better in Delhi Half Marathon - The Times of India

Desisa goes one better in Delhi Half Marathon
Champion Lelisa Desisa (centre) with first runner-up Geoffrey Kipsang (left) and second runner-up Mike Kigen after winning the Delhi Half Marathon 2011 in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)

NEW DELHI: Last year's runner-up, Ethiopia'sLelisa Desisa won the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon in a sizzling 59 minutes and 30 seconds on Sunday.

He bettered last year's winning time of 59.38. Desisa was followed by Kenya's Geoffrey Kipsang with 59.31 while his compatriot, Mike Kigen took the third place with 59.58.

It was Milton Rotich who led thousands of runners at the 10-km mark in just 28.28. He led the course till Dr Zakir Hussain Marg before a group of 20 similar-looking Kenyans and Ethiopians increased the pace and Rotich fell behind.

At India Gate, the tightly knit group began to split. After a point, the group was reduced to six athletes including Desisa, race favourite and fastest man on the list Sammy Kitwara, Philemon Limo, Geofrrey Kipsang and Dino Sefir.

While coming towards the finish line, Limo and Sefir couldn't keep up the pace. Kitwara too started to trail with 3 kms to go. "The competition was good, I ran my best time. But I am not very happy with the time, I had cold, and could have easily run in 58 minutes," Desisa told TOI. Last year, Desisa had clocked 59min and 39sec.

Kipsang, who lost by just one second, said: "After 15k I pushed hard, and was at par with others. But Desisa sprinted in last 200m; I chased but couldn't catch him." Race favourite Kitwara was certainly not a happy man finishing fifth with one hour and 9 seconds.

Among women, Luch Kabuu of Kenya kept her pre-race promise of winning but missed breaking the meet record by 10 seconds. Kabuu clocked 1:07.04. The record stands at 1:06.54 in the name of Kenya's Mary Keitany which was created in 2009.

Defending champion Aselefch Mergia of Ethiopia, in her fifth appearance in Delhi, led for most part of the race but finished third. Kenya's Sharon Cherop finished just 2 seconds after Kabuu to take the second spot. All three women clocked their best timings.

"I have to thank God for making me strong. I gave my personal best and enjoyed the race as the course was flat and good. We supported each other during the course," Kabuu said in a post race conference.

Kabuu, who took three year's off from running to become a mother and look after the baby, dedicated the win to her family, husband-cum-coach-coach and daughter. Mergia was content with her podium finish, and said: "It was a very good course and I had a good race. I am happy with the time." Impressed with the event, Cherop said she wanted to be back next year. "If they invite me, I'll come again. Now I'll target 2 hours and 20 minutes in full marathon," Cherop said.

Both Desisa and Kabuu pocketed the winner's cheque of $25,000 each. The first and second runner-up in both categories took away $15,000 and $10,000 respectively.

The Half marathon was flagged off by sports minister Ajay Maken in the presence of chief minister Sheila Dikshit at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Geremew, Afework take surprise Great Ethiopian Run 10km victoriesiaaf.org -

Geremew, Afework take surprise Great Ethiopian Run 10km victories

A big win for Museneh Girimaw at the Great Ethiopian Run (Organisers)

A big win for Museneh Girimaw at the Great Ethiopian Run(Organisers)


    • Abebech Afework winning the 2011 Great Ethiopian Run (Organisers)
    • The 2011 Great Ethiopian Run (Organisers)

    Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Mesenet Geremew and Abebech Afework were the deserved winners of the men’s and women’s races respectively in the 2011 CBE Great Ethiopian Run 10km road race in the Ethiopian capital on Sunday (27).

    A record 36,000 people competed in the 11th running of the race that brings some of Ethiopia’s young and upcoming running talent to perform on a bigger stage.

    Strong final push gives Afework victory

    Defending champion and former world junior 5000m champion Sule Utura was the overwhelming favorite coming into the women’s race, but last year’s runner-up Abebech Afework had other ideas coming into the penultimate last 2km of the contest.

    The 20-year old, who finished 14th in last year’s World Half Marathon Championships in Nanning, China, and has a personal best of 32:27 for the 10km, took a deserved victory ahead of Marathon runners Tiki Gelana and Atsede Habtamu. It was fourth time lucky for the race winner after finishing eighth in 2009 and second last year, while not managing a top 10 finish in 2008.

    Gelana helped set a quick early pace ahead of a large leading group of 18 athletes. The group, which consisted of runners like Utura, Afework, Gelana, and Habtamu, piled on the pace for the first 3km upon which Afework took over the initiative at the front and further whittling down the leading group to just five runners with Utura, Gelana, Etenesh Diro and Hiwot Ayalew able to live with Afework’s adventurous move.

    Gelana, Afework, and Ayalew continued to exchange the lead until the halfway point in the race when Diro became the first runner to drop back from the leading group. A kilometre later, Gelana decisively moved to the front in a move that nearly guaranteed her prospects of a top three finish. Her move was too much for Utura who dropped out of the competition at 7km leaving Afework, Habtamu, and Ayalew behind a gallant Gelana.

    Despite her best efforts at the head of the four-woman pack, Gelana could not shake off the chasing trio. At the 8km mark, Afework replaced Gelana at the head of the pack, a position which she did not relinquish before crossing the finish line in 32:59. Gelana clocked 33:06 to finish 2nd ahead of Habtamu.

    "I did my best to win this race,” Afework said. “It was the fourth time I ran this race and I have been progressing well each time I participated. In my first participation, I finished 13th [2008], then 8th, last year 2nd and now this year I am the winner."

    Geremew overcomes stiff challenge of Demelash & Kipkemboi

    In contrast to the women’s race; the men’s contest was a tight affair until the waning stages of the race.

    As is common with the Great Ethiopian Run, the start of the men’s race was tense with lots of pulling and shoving in the field’s desperate attempt at jostling for positions. The early stages saw as many as 20 runners in a large leading group with virtually no one daring to pile on the pace at the head of the group.

    The first signs of a breakaway came just after the halfway point when the large leading group started to wither down in number. Two kilometres later, the field was further reduced to five athletes with newcomers Mesenet Geremew and Yegerem Demelash, shadowing Kenyan Nicholas Kipkemboi at the head of the pack.

    In his first competition outside Ethiopia, Kipkemboi gave the Ethiopians quite a run for their money going into the final kilometre, but the young duo edged him across the line with Geremew winning the battle of the young Ethiopians in 28:37 ahead of Demelash who clocked 28:44, three seconds ahead of Kipkemboi. Geremew’s winning celebration was a military salute to the gathered media and spectators, a tribute to his club Amhara Police.

    "It is the first time I participated in this race,” said Geremew. “The first 5km had a lot of difficult challenges and there was a lot of pulling and shoving. But after the 5km, every one of us was focused on our race. I am so excited to become the winner of this big race which will encourage me a lot to have a bright future."

    Elshadai Negash (with the assistance of Bizuayehu Wagaw) for the IAAF

    Leading Results -


    1. Musnet Geremew 28:37

    2. Yigrem Demelash 28:44

    3. Nicholas Kipkemboi 28:47

    4. Belete Assefa 28:51

    5. Senbetu Mekebo 28:59

    6. Berhanu Mekonen 29:12


    1. Abebech Afework 32:59

    2. Tiki Gelana 33:06

    3. Atsede Habtamu 33:12

    4. Hiwot Ayalew 33:22

    5. Etenesh Diro 33:32

    6. Hirut Aga 33:33