Israel Aweke and Mantegbosh Melese were comfortable winners of the men’s and women’s 800m titles on the second day of action at the Ethiopian Championships in Assela on Thursday (27).
In a day packed with action in the sprint and middle distance events, Amanuel Abebe and Neima Seffa took the 100m titles, while Mezmur Kebede was an impressive winner of the men’s 400m Hurdles.
Melese continues 800m improvement with national title
After years of mediocre performances, the 800m has turned into something of a new obsession for Ethiopians in the last three years with the emergence of talents like Mohamed Aman and Fantu Magiso, although both Ethiopian record-holders were absent from Assela.
Mantegbosh Melese, a former multiple national champion at 400m, looked to provide the most convincing claim here with a hard-fought victory in a stadium record of 2:02.21 with Sofia Shemsu following suit in 2:03.20 and club-mate Alem Gebregziabher taking third in 2:04.38.
"I used to be a short distance runner, but as you can see, I don’t have the physique for it so I decided to move up to the 800m,” said a well-spoken Melese after the race. “Now I am trying to obtain the qualifying standard for international events like the upcoming IAAF World championships.
“Fantu [Magiso] and Mohammed [Aman] showed us that it is possible with hard work. Today I was very close to the required time and I will keep trying until I do. I have been working hard with the national team coaches and they told me to do what I have been doing in training.”
Aweke takes men’s crown
In the men’s corresponding race, Israel Aweke took the honours in what turned out to be a contest among athletes from the Defense Sports Club.
Aweke, Jena Omar, and Abiyot Abnet ran shoulder-to-shoulder at the bell with little to separate them. Aweke stepped into the lead quickly after halfway, and then injected a burst of pace with 100m left to take victory in 1:47.80 ahead of Omar with Abnet coming home in third.
“I had been working with national team coaches and prepared well to win this race,” he said. “I am still trying to get the qualification time for Moscow. So in a few days, I will get another try at the IAAF World Challenge in Gent, Belgium. Today's race was a tough one, but a good one for me."
New champions in sprints
In the women 400m, pre-race favourite and fastest qualifier Fetiya Kedir pulled out due to a hamstring problem before the race giving Kure Tola victory in 55.44. Mohammed Gemechu took the men’s equivalent in 47.47. Amanuel Abebe (10.52) and Neima Seffa (11.91) easily won the men’s and women’s 100m titles respectively.
Elshadai Negash (with the assistance of Bizuayehu Wagaw) for the IAAF
LEADING RESULTS (27 June)
1 Amanuel Abebe 10.52
2 Mohammed Misbah 10.67
3 Ahmed Abdela 10.91
1 Mohammed Gemechu 47.47
2 Alemayehu Abera 47.75
3 Muluken Fikre 47.87
1 Israel Aweke 1:47.80
2 Jena Omer 1:48.08
3 Abiyot Abnet 1:48.57
1 Kure Tola 55.44
2 Genet Lule 55.65
3 Mahlet Mulugeta 55.94
1 Mantegbosh Melese 2:02.21
2 Sofia Shemsu 2:03.20
3 Alem Gebregziabher 2:04.38