Ethiopian runners were simply too good while sweeping all podium spots in the men’s and women’s 10km international categories at the NAS Ramadan Sports Tournament

By Alaric Gomes (Gulf News) |

DUBAI, U.A.E.―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 Jima Bekele Reta, 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.

READ: Ethiopian Runners Buze Diriba and Muktar Edris Came Victorious at Boost Boston Games

“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.

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