On Men’s competition Sentayehu Merga and Fikre Assefa took the 1st and 2nd position, respectively, while on women’s side Meskerem Assefa and Tsehay Desalegn took the 2nd and 3rd position, respectively.
By Alvin Sallay, Kevin Kung, Ernest Kao |
Pint-sized North Korea Kim Hye-gyong stopped Ethiopia’s domination of the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon when she won the women’s marathon today.
Nearly 65,000 people took to the streets of Hong Kong this morning, not to “occupy” the city but to compete in the popular event, comprising the marathon, half marathon and 10km.
Two runners, aged 24 and 49, were in critical condition last night at Eastern Hospital and Yan Chai Hospital. One fainted and suffered a head injury in Causeway Bay, while the other fell sick as he was making it across Tsing Ma Bridge. Organizers said 40 runners had to be hospitalized, up from 30 last year.
The traditional supremacy of athletes from the highlands of Africa on the streets of Hong Kong continued when Addis Ababa resident Sentayehu Merga Ejigu stormed to victory in the men’s race in two hours and 13 minutes, just 93 seconds short of the record set by countryman Dejere Abera in 2012.
Compatriot Fikre Assefa Robi was second in 2:13:05, while Kenya’s Robert Kipkorir Kipchumba was third in 2:13:07 as a field of nearly 15,000 men and women in the showpiece race enjoyed near-perfect running conditions.
“It was a good race and apart from some wind, the conditions were ideal. I’m very happy as this is my first time in Hong Kong and to win such a big race,” said the 25-year-old Ejigu, who runs for the Police Club back home.
But the African dominance was halted in the women’s race by Kim, who easily defeated Ethiopian pair Meskerem Assfa Wondimag and Tsehay Desalegn Adhana.
Kim, 22, became the first North Korean to win the women’s race in Hong Kong since 2008 with a time of 2:31:46. Meskerem Assfa finished in 2:33:57 and Adhana came home in 2:34:06.
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