Roba Gari takes his fourth Ethiopian title in the Steeplechase (Bizuayehu Wagaw) © Copyright
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Abdosh, G. Dibaba, and Utura produce the highlights at the Ethiopian Championships

Genzebe Dibaba, Ali Abdosh, Sule Utura, and Amane Godana were among the winners in the final two days of action as the 39th Ethiopian Athletics Championships drew to a close at the Addis Ababa stadium on Sunday (2).

Dema Daba took advantage of the absence of two-time world indoor 1500m champion Derese Mekonnen to take his first national title, rising-star Weynua Wolde was an impressive winner of the women’s 800m final, and Roba Gari won his fourth national 3000m Steeplechase title.

Abdosh makes it three in 5000m

?Like other editions of the national championships, the men’s and women’s 5000m and 10,000m races are always the highlight of the five-day event.  This year, the marquee event was the men’s 5000m which saw African 5000m bronze medallist Ali Abdosh attempting a third national title against a young field.

Abdosh took the lead with five laps to go in last year’s race to take a runaway victory over Dino Sefer last year and looked comfortable in the early stages to repeat the same dominance this year. But youngster Fekre Assefa had other ideas.

Assefa took the race to his more illustrious compatriot until Abdosh used his experience to take victory courtesy of a sprint finish at the line. The victory margin was just two-hundredths of a second. 

G. Dibaba signals middle distance intent with 1500m victory

Like Abdosh, African junior 5000m champion and two-time world junior cross country champion Genzebe Dibaba took a runaway victory last year, but stepped down the distance to continue her resurgence in the 1500m.

The 19-year old, who’s run 4:04.94 indoors this season and still failed to make Ethiopia’s ultra-competitive world indoor squad in Doha, was far more dominant in the absence of World indoor 1500m champion Kalkidan Gezhagne and bronze medallist Gelete Burka, the two runners who pipped her in pickings for Doha. After running just in front of the leading pack in the early stages, she took the initiative at the bell storming away from Bertukan Feyessa to take victory in 4:16.34 with Azmerawork Bekele coming home in third.

In contrast, world junior 5000m champion Sule Utura was less challenged in the women’s 5000m as she took a deserved second national title. Without chief rival G. Dibaba to contend with, Utura was shadowed by Emebet Anteneh and Hiwot Ayalew for much of the contest before sprinting ahead 200m before the finish for a comfortable victory.

Godana over Getaneh in the 10,000m

The battle of the marathon runners was on show in the women’s 10,000m on Saturday as Osaka marathon winner Amane Godana and Dubai Marathon third placer Genet Getaneh made a dramatic step down in distance to do battle. The result was a tactical race that burst into life only in the final stages with Godana beating Getaneh courtesy of a photo finish.

Gari defends, while Adama shocks Bekele in steeple

The steeplechase events saw Roba Gari take his fourth national title ahead of 2007 World youth champion Legesse Lemiso, while Bertukan Adama took a surprise victory over African silver medallist Mekdes Bekele in the women’s event.

The other highlights from the championships were Dama Daba’s victory in the men’s 1500m on the final day and Yetwale Kinde’s win in the men’s 10,000m on Wednesday, the opening day of the championships.

Elshadai Negash (with the assistance of Bizuayehu Wagaw in Addis Ababa) for the IAAF

Selected Results  -
Day I- Wednesday April 28th 2010

?Men’s 10,000m: 1. Yetwale Kinde (29:05.09), 2. Gebretsadik Abraha, 3. Tilahun Regassa

Day IV- Saturday May 1st 2010 ?

Men's 800m: Shiferaw Welle (1:47.31), Mohammed Aman (1:48.50), Dawit Wolde - 1:48.80

?Women's 800m: Weyinwa Wolde (2:06.93), Mulu Diriba (2:07.42), Azmera Gebru (2:07.90)

?Women's 3000m Steeplechase:   Bertukan Adama - 10:04.81, Mekdes Bekele - 10:07.59, Almaz Ayema - 10:11.21

?Men's 3000m Steeplechase: Roba Gari - 8:32.45, Legese lemiso - 8:44.17, Asefa Nguse - 8:48.17?

Women's 10,000m: Amane Godana - 33:22.24, Genet Getaneh - 33:22.48, Konjit Tilahun - 33:25.59

Day V- Sunday May 2nd 2010?

Women's 5000m: Sule Utura - 16:14.67, Emebet Anteneh - 16:16.50, Hiwot Ayalew - 16:17.10?

Men's 5000m: Ali Abdosh - 13:44.06, Fikre Assefa - 13:44.08, Yehenew Alamerew - 13:58.65?

Men's 1500m: Dema Daba - 3:41.59, Zebene Alemayehu - 3:44.54, Aman Wetiye - 3:45.19?

Women's 1500m:  Genzebe Dibaba - 4:16.34, Brtukan feysa - 4:17.14, Azemerawork Bekele  - 4:21.17?