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Adugna, Degefa triumph at Dubai Marathon

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on January 24, 2020 | Last updated on January 24, 2020 at 05.35 pm

(Neeraj Murali/KT)

Adugna came up with a time of two hours, six minutes and 15 seconds.

Ethiopian elite marathoners stamped their mark in the 21st edition of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on Friday morning.

Olika Bikila Adugna, making his Dubai debut, won the men's title while compatriot Worknesh Degefa Debele added her second Dubai crown to go with the one she had won in 2017.

A massive contingent of Ethiopians had come to cheer their runners and waved flags and created quite an atmosphere. And Adugna and Degefa obliged with fine performances in the 42km race.

Although the course record wasn't broken owing to strong winds, Adugna and Degefa finished with good timings.

Adugna came up with a time of two hours, six minutes and 15 seconds, while Degefa, the fastest Ethiopian female marathon runner of all-time, had a timing of two hours, 19 minutes and 38 seconds.

It was short of her personal best of 2:17.41 seconds set in Dubai last year while finishing second to Kenya's Ruth Chepngetich. Degefa had won the 2017 edition with a time of two hours, 22 minutes and 36 seconds.

Adugna's win continued Ethiopia's domination in the men's event with him becoming the 14th winner of the race.

Another Dubai debutant Kenya's Eric Kiptanui Kiprono threatened briefly to put an end to that but agonisingly fell short. Kiptanui, who is the fastest half marathon runner of all-time, finished two seconds behind Adugna with a timing of two hours, six minutes and 17 seconds.

Ethiopian Tsedat Abeje Ayana was third with a time of 2:06:18, three seconds behind the winner.

Meanwhile, it was an Ethiopian clean sweep with Guteni Shone Amana and Bedatu Badane Hirpa finishing second and third respectively.

Adugna was surprised to come away with the win, especially as the field was bunched up all along.

"I'm surprised to win this one," Adugna said, through an interpreter, after the race.

"When we approached the 40km mark, I believed that I could do it in the final sprint. I was not sure I could win but I'm very surprised that I could win this race. In the beginning, the pace was not fast. But I felt better in my body," he added.

Meanwhile, it was a Swiss double with Marcel Hug and Sandra Graf defending their titles in the men's and women's wheelchair event.

james@khaleejtimes.com



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