Ethiopians, Moroccans lead the way in road runs

by Zelalem

Mubarak Rashid becomes three-time winner in 10km run for men at NAS Ramadan Sports

Dubai: Runners from Ethiopia and Morocco dominated the road running races held as part of the ongoing Fifth Nad Al Sheba (NAS) Ramadan Sports Tournament.

The Moroccan athletes made a clean sweep in three categories — the 5km and 10km men’s open and the 10km UAE National Professionals event, while the Ethiopian runners were simply too good while sweeping all podium spots in the men’s and women’s 10km international categories.

Denying the African contingent total dominance were teenager Megan Dingle, who claimed the 5km women’s open, and experienced Finnish runner Anne Mari Hyrylainen as she went on to successfully defend her title in the 10km women’s open class.

With runners struggling to cope with humid weather conditions, times were not expected to be quick. But Ethiopia’s Bekele Reta Jima, who set the pace in the 10km men’s international run, finished strongly in 30.10 minutes, ten seconds clear of countryman Haile Kindiya Tesfaye. Hafte Berhe Kahsay crossed the line in 30.40 minutes to complete the Ethiopian dominance.

“I didn’t do anything special as there was nothing much anyone could have done against the weather. The idea was to stay ahead of the pack and break away when the right opportunity came along,” Jima told Gulf News after being treated for heat exhaustion and dehydration by the on-site medics from Dubai Ambulance.

“To an extent I am disappointed as I thought I could go after the course record here. My best is 29 minutes, so to finish more than one minute off the target is not exactly a consolation. But the good thing is that we won tonight,” he smiled.

In the women’s 10km international class, it was Ethiopia once again on the podium as Yeshi Kalayu Chekole paced her race well to claim a memorable first-time success here as she finished in a time of 35.19 minutes, leaving countrywomen Mihret Tefara Adhena (35.26) and Haven Hailu Desse (35.47) in second and third respectively.

“We started off at a quick pace and to keep up the momentum in these conditions was next to impossible. But I simply hung in there knowing that the other runners too had to face the same situation,” Chekole explained.

“I knew that if I had to make an early break, there would be someone on my tail. So I waited for the right moment for that final sprint to the finish line,” she added.

Mubarak Rashid Hassan Al Marashda finished in a time of 33.47 minutes to become the only athlete so far to win this event for the third successive year. Al Marashda, who works in the UAE, claimed the 10km proessional run for UAE Nationals leaving Khalifa Al Nuaimi (34.43) in second and former champion Ali Khalifa Hamad Al Wahshi (35.06) in third place.

Another runner defending her title successfully was Finland’s Anne Mari Hyrylainen in the 10km women’s open category with a fast time of 37.02 minutes. Berhan Aregawi Gebremichael of Ethiopia followed in second, while Emily Waugh was placed third.

“Winning races is fine with me, but it is far more important for me to compete and push myself towards being the best,” Hyrylainen said.


(5k Men’s Open) 1. Abdul Ali Bu Azzaoui (15.45 mins); 2. Mohammad Ait Mamas Touda (16.13); 3. Esmail Al Kharchi (16.18)

(10k UAE National Professionals) 1. Mubarak Rashid Hassan Al Marashda (33.47 mins); 2. Khalifa Al Nuaimi (34.43); 3. Ali Khalifa Hamad Al Wahshi (35.06)

(5k Women Open) 1. Megan Dingle (20.28); 2. Helen O’Neile (21.17); 3. Sara Souhi (22.28).

(10k Women Open) 1. Anne Mari Hyrylainen (Finland) 37.02 mins; 2. Berhan Aregawi Gebremichael (Ethiopia) 38.02; 3. Emily Waugh (UAE) 38.53

(10k Men Open) 1. Ahmad Tamri (Morocco) 32.37 mins; 2. Samir Jouaher (Morocco) 32.58; 3. Anouar Al Ghouz (Morocco) 33.36

(10k International Men) 1. Bekele Reta Jima (Ethiopia) 30.10 mins; 2. Haile Kindiya Tesfaye (Ethiopia) 30.20; 3. Hafte Berhe Kahsay (Ethiopia) 30.40

(10k Women International) 1. Yeshi Kalayu Chekole (Ethiopia) 35.19; 2. Mihret Tefara Adhena (Ethiopia) 35.26; 3. Haven Hailu Desse (Ethiopia) 35.47

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