African Games champion Getaneh Tamire Molla, world junior cross-country silver medallist Dera Dida and 2012 world indoor 1500m silver medallist Aman Wote were among the winners at the Ethiopian Championships in Addis Ababa, which drew to a close on Sunday (24).
Although many of the country’s top stars elected to give the championships a miss, the championships once again saw the rise of a number of promising young talents.
The men’s 10,000m had one of the best-quality line-ups at the championships with 2011 world 10,000m champion Ibrahim Jeilan and 2011 world cross-country champion Imane Merga both taking part, but it was relative unknown Abadi Hadise who emerged as the winner.
A nervy-looking start failed to separate the starting group of 27 until past the half way point of the race when Bonsa Dida surged and took the lead. His efforts whittled down the congested field to just eight runners with Jeilan, looking short of race fitness, among the casualties. He dropped out of the contest four laps later.
Another newcomer, Fikadu Haftu, took over the lead from Dida with eight laps of the contest left and continued dropping off athletes from the leading pack, leaving only him and eventual winner Hadise in a battle for the finish.
Merga, visibly shaken by the youngster’s tactics, dropped out of the contest three laps before the finish. Hadise then passed Haftu and continued to widen the gap before stopping the clock at 28:43.11 for a shock win ahead of Haftu (28:49.00) and Dida (28:49.72).
“This was my 10,000m debut and I only entered to assess my potential,” Hadise said after the race. “I am very glad for this win and will keep working hard to maintain my shape.”
With the seasonal spring rains pouring over the Addis Ababa stadium on the opening day of the championships, Shure Demise’s performance in the women’s 10,000m helped reinvigorate the crowd.
Demise, who ran the fastest ever marathon by a junior when she clocked 2:20:59 in Dubai last year, dominated the contest from the half-way point to take victory in 33:24.47, finishing one place higher than she did last year.
Eventual runner-up Yenenesh Tilahun tried to challenge the 2015 Toronto Marathon champion on the last lap, but had no response to her finishing kick and settled for second with 33፡26.36 ahead of Ayantu Idosa who closed out the podium places in 33፡31.04.
Molla retains 5000m title
Getaneh Tamire Molla was the favourite going into the men’s 5000m and the African Games champion lived up to his billing with a well-taken victory.
Having sat in the middle of the pack for much of the first half of the race, Molla moved to the lead with three laps to go. He kept on injecting systematic bouts of pace before reaching the finish line in 13:47.57 ahead of Dejene Debela and Selemon Birega.
“It was my focus to defend my title and glad to accomplish my aim,” said Molla.
In a slow-paced women’s 5000m final, Dera Dida took the title ahead of Kidsan Alema and Meskerem Mamo.
World finalist and African Games silver medallist Besu Sado won the women’s 1500m with a championship record of 4፡08.16.
In the men’s event, 2014 world indoor silver medallist Aman Wote front-ran his way to victory. “I have the experience to go after pace makers and opted not to take the other athletes with me until the finish,” said Wote. “I did not want to have a hard time with their finishing pace, so my tactics worked well.”
Ansa and Seboka win dramatic 3000m steeplechase finals
After a three-hour delay due to the water jump not being filled on time, the women’s 3000m steeplechase was won by 2013 world youth bronze medallist Weynshet Ansa in 10:05.03. World junior record-holder Birtukan Adamu and world youth bronze medallist Agrie Belachew took the other podium places in 10:06.35 and 10:07.83 respectively while Olympic finalist Etenesh Diro finished fourth with 10:10.44.
“My initial plan was to win with a fast time but due to the organisers’ mistake we were forced to lose a lot of energy before the race,” said Ansa. “We asked them to postpone it but they refused. I am so glad to get the win.”
In the men’s final, defending champion Tafese Seboka looked to be struggling at the bell as Chala Bayu took the lead and was clear of his rival at the water jump. But Seboka waited until the final barrier before launching a vicious kick that took him to victory in 8:38.58.
“Based on my preparations, I expected the win, or at least to finish in the top three, so I achieved the best outcome,” said Seboka. “Now I will keep working hard to qualify for the Olympic Games.”
Elshadai Negash (with the assistance of Bizuayehu Wagaw) for the IAAF
1 Bacha Morka 1፡48.00
2 Addisu Girma 1፡48.32
3 Yobsen Girma 1፡48.63
1 Aman Wote 3:40.32
2 Teresa Tolosa 3:40.81
3 Zemenu Addis 3:41.15
1 Getaneh Tamire Molla 13:47.57
2 Dejene Debela 13:52.14
3 Selemon Birega 13:52.54
1 Abadi Hadis 28፡43.11
2 Fikadu Haftu 28፡49.00
3 Bonsa Dida 28፡49.72
1 Tafese Seboka 8:38.58
2 Chala Bayu 8:39.68
3 Jigisa Tolosa 8:41.37
1 Tigset Ketema 2፡04.65
2 Dinke Ferdesa 2፡06.19
3 Lidya Melese 2፡06.50
1 Besu Sado 4፡08.16
2 Fantu Werku 4፡11.50
3 Adanech Ansa 4፡11.74
1 Dera Dida 16፡09.06
2 Kidsan Alema 16፡15.72
3 Meskerem Mamo 16፡17.14
1 Shure Demise 33፡24.47
2 Yenenesh Tilahun 33፡26.36
3 Ayantu Idosa 33፡31.04
1 Weynshet Ansa 10:05.03
2 Birtukan Adamu 10፡06.35
3 Agere Belachew 10፡07.83