23 Feb

Ethiopians Top In Tokyo

Endeshaw NegesseAround 36,000 participants took to the streets of Tokyo on Sunday (22 February) for the Japanese capital's ninth annual marathon. The event saw Ethiopians Endeshaw Negesse and Birhane Dibaba win the men's and female races in 2:06:00 and 2:23:16, respectively.

It marked the first time competitors from the same nation had won both titles in the nine-year history of the event. Negesse became only the second Ethiopian male, after Hailu Mekonnen in 2011, to win the event.

The 26-year-old said of his victory: "It was a good race, although the condition was little bit tough because it was rainy and cold (with temperatures around 5 degrees Celcius). The pacing was a little slow. If it had been faster then I could have run faster. I knew that the field is formidable when I saw the start list. However, I did not dwell on it. I have done good training including good speed work. So I knew I could win the race."

In the women's race, Dibaba recorded the third fastest time of her career, despite arriving late in Japan due to transport problems. The 21-year-old saw off the challenge of compatriot and London 2012 gold medallist Tiki Gelana, as well as the Kenyan trio Helah Kiprop, Selly Kaptich Chepyego, and Flomena Cheyech Daniel.