Ethiopia pulled a fast on Kenyans as they produced brilliant shows at the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon yesterday.
But world marathon champion Ruth Cheng’etich saved Kenyan blushes in the Indian capital as she finished second in 1:05:06 behind Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who produced a stunning 1:04:46 for victory, the second fastest women’s time ever over the distance.
The 21-year-old Ethiopian, who settled for third place at the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia in Poland, last month, bounced back to bag Sh2.7 million ($US27,000) top prize and an additional (Sh1 million) $10,000 as an event record bonus.
Ababel Yeshaneh, another Ethiopian, checked in third in 1:05:21 ahead of 2017 world cross country champion Irene Cheptai (1:06.43), Ethiopia’s Tsehay Gemechu (1:07.16) and Kenya’s Eva Cherono (1:07.18).
World marathon record holder and 2020 London Marathon winner Brigid Kosgei was forced to drop out midway through the eighth kilometre, holding her leg as she limped to the roadside.
In men’s race, Amdework Walelegn defeated his Ethiopian compatriot and two-time defending champion Andamlak Belihu to win in 58:53. Belihu was second in 58:54 as he missed out on an unprecedented third title.
Uganda’s Stephen Kissa (58.56) and Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris (59.04) came third and fourth as world cross country silver medallist Leonard Barsoton (59:10) returned fifth.
Ethiopia’s Tesfahun Akalnew (59:22) was sixth, Victor Kiplangat (59:26) of Uganda seventh and Kenya’s Shadrack Kimining (59:51) eighth.
Abrar Osman (1:00:10) of Eritrea and homeboy Avinash Sable, who set a national record of 1:00:30, completed the first 10 places.
Three pacemakers took the field through three kilometres in 8:22 and then five kilometres in 13:57.
Forty-seven elite runners hit the 21km in the men’s and women’s event.