Ethiopia’s Feyera Gemeda will be looking to return to the form that brought him victory in 2014 when he lines-up at the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon, which celebrates its 20th anniversary, on Sunday.

Feyera Gemeda’s triumph here two years ago was a gamble which paid off handsomely. The Ethiopian was not an official entry, but he paid US $1000 for an air ticket, slept on a colleague’s hotel room floor, ran away from the field in the last five kilometers, and netted the US $65,000 first prize.

Having set a PB of 2:11:45 in Toulouse the previous year, he followed up with a 1:00:29 half-marathon clocking in the Chinese city of Yangzhou and another victory in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He returns this year after missing the 2015 Hong Kong race with a leg injury, yet is no more convinced of potential victory than he was last time – which could bode ill for his opponents.

“There are lots of other good Ethiopians, and good Kenyans here this time, and I don’t feel in top form, so it might be more difficult to win on Sunday,” he said at the press conference held with the impressive backdrop of a junk floating in the harbor.

Feyera Gemeda’s principal opposition will be compatriots Fikre Assefa, who finished second last year after making most of the running, and Megersa Bacha who ran a personal best of 2:06:56 in Paris in 2013.

Then, almost inevitably, there will be the Kenyans, given that the East African neighbors have provided winners in more than half of the previous 19 editions since the race was revived in 1997.

Albert Matebor is the fastest man in the field with the 2:05:25 he clocked to finish third at the 2011 Frankfurt Marathon.

Samuel Mwaniki, Robert Kipchumba, Cosmas Mutuku, Laurence Cherono and Isaac Kosgei have all run faster than 2:10.

Source: The Citizen
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