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Uganda take surprise team title in the Abebe Bikila International Marathon

Ethiopia’s Tesfaye Girma won the 19th Abebe Bikila International Marathon (2365m altitude) held in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Saturday (21 June). His winning time of 2:38.29 was nearly a minute clear of second place Alex Malinga on Uganda, with Djibouti’s Youssuf Labied third.

Fourth place for Yakoub Muwonge gave Uganda the team title, the first by a country other than the home nation. The country had also finished second in the last three editions of the Marathon, as well as the 23rd Ethiopian Cross Country Championships in March.

Gaddissa Shentema of the Defence Forces club won the men’s competition in a time of 2:37:47. The 20-year old Athlete, who led from the 38th kilometer mark, finished twelve seconds ahead of Unity College’s Terefe Yaë, with Sileshi Admassu of the Segele club finishing third.

In the corresponding women’s event, Maremia’s Zenash Alemu took the title in a time of 2:53:58, ahead of clubmate Yehunelesh Bekele and Muger’s Mulu Seboka.

Debele Teklemedhin took the regional men’s title in a time of 2:25:26 with Shimellis Molla and Mezgebu Kiros occupying the remaining places on the medals podium.

With many of Ethiopia’s well-known marathon runners opting not to take part in the competition, the crowd had a chance to see some of the up and coming athletes battle to take their place in the future National team set-up. According to the organizers, the Ethiopian Athletics Federation, 350 runners took part in the event, which has established itself as one of the top priorities in the Ethiopian Athletics agenda.

The annual event is held in the recognition of the late Athlete Abebe Bikila, who ran his name into the record books when he became the first runner to win two consecutive Olympic Marathon titles in Rome (1960) and Tokyo (1964).

Elshadai Negash for the IAAF

19th Abebe Bikila International Marathon Official

National team- Men
Tesfaye Girma (Eth) 2hrs 38.29
Alex Malinga (Uga) 2hrs 39.18
Youssuf Labied (Dji)

Club- Men
Gaddissa Shentema (Defense) 2hrs 37.47
Terefe Yae (Unity College) 2hrs 37.59  
Sileshi Admassu (Segele Sports club) 2hrs 38.39

Zenash Alemu (Maremia) 2hrs 53.58
Yehunelesh Bekele (Maremia) 2hrs 55.00
Mulu Seboka (Muger) 2hrs 55.12

Regional- Men
Debele Teklemedhin (Oromia) 2hrs 25.26
Shimellis Molla (Oromia) 2hrs 26.22
Mezgebu Kiros (Tigray) 2hrs 39.12