Ethiopians sweep podium at Dubai Marathon

Dubai, Jan 25 (IANS) Ethiopia's Lelisa Desisa won the 14th Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon Friday in a tight and foggy race which saw all male and female medallists coming from the East African country.

Desisa clocked 2:04:45, around one minute below the world record in the men's race. The 23-year-old Ethiopian ran the Dubai Marathon for the first time. The full-length race is the most lucrative international marathon as he won $1 million worth in prize money, reports Xinhua.

Tirfi Tsegaye, 28, also from Ethiopia won the women's race in a time of 2:23:23. She said after the race she had no doubt she would win this year's Dubai Marathon which attracted some 20,000 runners.

The race was engulfed by dense fog which kept its grip over Dubai until the very last minute when the sun broke through just in time during Desisa's victory in the Dubai Business Bay at the foot of the 828 metres high Burj Khalifa.

All other medallists were from Ethiopia. The runner-up in the men's race was Berhanu Shiferaw Tolcha who passed the finishing line in 2:04:48 while his countryman Tadese Tola Woldegeberel finished third in 2:04:49.

The runner-up in the women's race was Ehitu Kiros Reda who clocked 2:23:39 and Amane Gobena Gemeda finished third in 2:23:50.

Kenya's top favourite Moses Mosop called off his participation Thursday because of family committments.

Desisa, who never won an international marathon race before, said after the race that the track in Dubai was good and fast and the dense fog wasn't mean a big obstacle.

"I accelerated in the last 200 metres. I think that was the key to cross the finish line first in this very tight race," said Desisa.

Ahmed Al-Kamali, the president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Athletic Federation said he was very satisfied with the outcome of the 14th Dubai Marathon.

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