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  • Chebet and Ethiopian Meseret Hailu break course records in Amsterdam - REPORT

    Meseret Hailu threatens the 2:21 barrier in Amsterdam (Amsterdam organisers) 

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands - Some times you get what you want. Such was the case with the 37th edition of the TCS Amsterdam Marathon, an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, which saw both its men's and women's course records broken today.

    Wilson Chebet was the fastest man in 2:05:41 shaving three seconds off the 2:05:44 which Ethiopian Getu Feleke clocked in 2010. On the women's side, Meseret Hailu of Ethiopia scored a second big success in 15 days time. On 6 October she triumphed at the World Half Marathon Championships in Kavarna (Bulgaria). This Sunday she won in 2:21:09. The 22-year-old Ethiopian bettered her personal best by six minutes and six seconds. Earlier this year she won the Egmond Half Marathon in 1:11:18.

    For Chebet it was his third start in the Amsterdam Marathon. Two years ago he ran his first Marathon finishing second behind Getu Feleke, whose course record he now broke, and last year the 27-year-old Kenyan won the race in 2:05:53. 

    Under grey skies and a temperature around 11 degrees C around 13,000 marathon runners started in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympic stadium. Led by several pace makers a large group went out rather fast with a 15:00 split at five kilometers and 29:35 at the 10-kilometres marker. Chebet was very attentive in the big group which mostly was led by the Kenyans Gideon Kipketer and Vincent Yator. The two ran a steady pace of around fifteen minutes for five kilometres and brought 18 runners through half way in 1:03:05, which was more that half a minute slower than foreseen. 

    After midway some runners lost contact with a group of 13 still at the front: Chebet, compatriots Peter Kirui and Elias Kemboi, Eassa Rashed of Qatar, and the Ethiopians Feyisa Bekele, Abrha Gebresetsadik, Abraham Girma, Bentayehu Assefa and Mulugeta Wami with the pace makers Kipketer, Yator, Ezekiel Chebii and Nicholas Kipkemboi. They passed 25 kilometres in 1:14:39 and 30-km in 1:29:50. Then Kirui, Kemboi and Wami started having problems following the pace.

    At 35 kilometres Chebet, Assefa, Gebretsadik, Bekele and Girma were leading in 1:44:59. Two kilometres behind the 35-k marker Chebet made his move. With long strides he opened very fast a gap and went on to win. 

    "I am very happy with this victory," he said. "Amsterdam is a very nice place for me."

    After Chebet's finish the spectators in the Olympic Stadium saw an all-Ethiopian battle between three athletes who were contesting their first Marathon. The three all clocked under 2:07:00.

    In the women's race Hailu, Genet Getaneh and Goitetom Haftu (all Ethiopians) and the Kenyans Eunice Kirwa and Diane Chepkemoi ran close to each other until 20 kilometres (1:07:24) with Hafu losing contact around half way (1:11:15). Chepkemoi was the next victim of the quick pace. Between 30 and 35-k Getaneh could not follow any longer. Hailu and Kirwa passed 35-k in 1:57:34. But then Hailu proved to be the strongest in the fain phase. By 40-k (2:13:56) she was ten seconds ahead. In the final two kilometres the World Half Marathon champion gained 32 seconds on her last remaining opponent.

    Wim van Hemert for the IAAF

    Leading Results:

    MEN -
    1. Wilson Chebet, KEN 2:05:41 CR, previous 2:05:44 Getu Feleke (Eth) 2010
    2. Bentayehu Assefa, ETH 2:06:22 debut
    3. Abrha Gebretsadik, ETH 2:06:23 debut
    4. Feisa Bekele, ETH 2:06:26 debut
    5. Abraham Girma, ETH 2:06:48 PB
    6. Mulugeta Wami, ETH 2:07:11 PB
    7. Gideon Kipketer, KEN 2:08:14 debut 
    8. Elias Kemboi, KEN 2:08:51
    9. Henri Sugut, KEN 2:09:07 
    10. Peter Kirui, KEN 2:09:15
    11. Essa Rashed, QAT 2:09:22 PB
    12. Michel Butter, NED 2:09:58 PB
    13. Shumi Dechase, ETH 2:13:50
    14. Musa Babo, ETH 2:14:06 PB
    15. Kazuhiro Maeda, JPN 2:14:37 
    16. David Barmasai, KEN 2:15:32
    17. Abebe Dinkesa, ETH 2:15:48
    18. Mihael Krassilov, KAZ 2:16:08 debut
    19. Ronald Schroer, NED 2.16.19 PB
    20. Rens Dekkers, NED 2:17:19

    WOMEN -
    1. Meseret Hailu, ETH 2:21:09 PB CR, previous 2:22:08 Tiki Gelana (Eth) 2011
    2. Eunice Kirwa, KEN 2:21:41 PB
    3. Genet Getaneh, ETH 2:25:38 PB
    4. Diane Chepkemoi, KEN 2:27:32 
    5. Goitetum Haftu, ETH 2:33:57
    6. Leila Luik, EST 2:40.12 PB
    7. Gemma Rankin, GBR 2:41:57
    8. Liina Luik, EST 2:45:04 PB
    9. Jessica Gunnarsson, NOR 2:49:25
    10. Mariska Dute, NED 2:49:39
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  • It Is Possible to Reverse the 5-3 Deficit on Sunday - Ethiopian Coach Sewnet Bishaw


    Ethiopian national football team coach Sewnet Bishaw believes his side can still qualify for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals by beating visiting Sudan in this weekend's return leg of the final qualifier. Ethiopia hosts Sudan this Sunday, October 14, at the Addis Ababa stadium trailing 5-3 from last month's encounter in Khartoum. Bishaw told ahead of the encounter that it is possible to turn the tables on Sudan and qualify.

    After losing 5-3 in Sudan in the first leg it is a tall order to recover from that isn't it?

    I cannot deny that it was a heavy defeat. But it is possible to reverse that result with a simple 2-0 win in front of our fans. If one remembers the scoring pattern in the first leg one can easily observe that we were able bounce back two times. Sudan had a 1-0 lead, and then we crawled back to 1-1. The Sudanese side extended the lead to 3-1, it we fought back with two goals to make it 3-3 after 82 minutes. In the remaining 8 minutes Sudan scored two goals from penalties to win 5-3. My senses tell me that it is possible to reverse the deficit and gain victory over the Sudanese side.

    Your first goalkeeper will not play and the second choice Dereje Alemu has a leg injury. Defender Abebaw Butako is suspended. With all these absentees is it possible to achieve your goal?

    Our first goalkeeper Sisay Bancha and defender Butako were given the second yellow in Khartoum. Dereje Alemu injured his leg in training on Monday (October 8). But we brought in two goalkeepers, Zerihun Tadele and Jemal Tasew who are equally competent. We have also called in defender Yared Zinabu to fill the gap, so we think we will still do well.

    There is also Egypt based striker Saladin Seid who didn't play in Khartoum.

    In Sudan he was in the line but did not play but this time round he will play. He is in good form this time. He has fully recovered from a leg injury. His performances in our training sessions have been fast improving. The recovery space was more than the physicians suggested. His presence in the team will surely boosting the morale of the players.

    What is the mood like in camp?

    The team spirit is high. I have been in coaching business at the national level for years but I have never seen a team with this kind of determination and high spirit. We have been together for nearly two months. That could be our source of strength. Everybody is keen to get the needed win over Sudan and qualify for the 2013 African Cup of Nations for the first time in 31 years. I am hopeful that we will make it.

    How will you handle a very defensive Sudan out to protect its 5-3 lead?

    We are prepared for any situation that will arise. My boys are determined to make history like the past Ethiopian side that won over Guinea during the 13th African Nations Cup qualifiers. That side went against all odds to win against Guinea and make it the 1982 finals in Libya. With this unified strength and high spirit we have belief that it will be possible to break the defensive tactic with an attacking football using the full length of the pitch.

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  • Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede tries to become 1st Ethiopian to win Chicago Marathon


    Chicago Tribune

    CHICAGO -- Tsegaye Kebede has some big marathon wins: London, Paris, two in Fukuoka, Japan.

    The 25-year-old Ethiopian also has won bronze medals at the Olympics and world championships.

    But the races Kebede considers the best of his career were two he lost in foot-to-foot, heart-to-heart combat the last 6 miles against the late Sammy Wanjiru of Kenya.

    The first was in London in 2009, when Wanjiru won by 10 seconds. The second was in Chicago in 2010, when the margin was 19 seconds but the competition even fiercer.

    Kebede, among the favorites in today's Bank of America Chicago Marathon, enjoyed the thrill of battle more than the joy of winning in a rout, as he had three times.

    "The big fight is better," Kebede said with a smile.

    Like everyone in the sport, Kebede remains deeply saddened by Wanjiru's death under uncertain circumstances in 2011. Returning to Chicago intensifies those feelings, bringing back memories of how he and Wanjiru, a couple of 112-pounders, fought to the finish with back-and-forth surges like heavyweights punching and counterpunching.

    The result gave Wanjiru the 2009-10 World Marathon Majors title -- and its $500,000 first prize -- over Kebede.

    "When I did my training run (Thursday) morning, I was thinking, 'He passed me right here,' " Kebede said. "It was amazing."

    Kebede always has showed a lot more fight than his Ethiopian counterparts -- two of them members of his training group -- did in the London Olympic marathon, in which all three failed to finish.

    It was a stunning result for a country that had the 3-4-7 finishers in 2008, the 1-3 finishers in 2000 and three straight winners from 1960 to 1968. This was the first time Ethiopia failed to have at least one man finish at the Olympics.

    "Everybody was shocked," Kebede said. "Everybody said in the media and websites, 'Why was Tsegaye not on the team?' "

    He watched with his family in Sendafa, about 20 miles from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. Kebede would not say if he thought he would have done better.

    "Unless you are there, you can't say," he said.

    Kebede, who has finished all of his 12 marathons, is by far the most consistent Ethiopian marathoner since 2008. But the Ethiopian federation decided to select its athletes strictly on a best-time basis. All three Olympic marathoners -- whose combined marathon experience was less than that of Kebede alone -- came from 2012 races over the fast courses in Dubai and Rotterdam.

    Such an idea makes little sense, given the variety of weather conditions and courses marathoners face. The Dubai race, with a horde of pacesetters over a flat track in late January, was so anomalous that its fourth through 17th finishers had the fastest marathon time ever for each of those places.

    Kebede knew all that, yet he stuck to his plan for a spring marathon on the slower course in London, where he finished third in 2 hours, 6 minutes, 52 seconds. Ethiopia's Olympians all had broken 2:05.

    Kebede's personal best, from 2009, is 2:05:18. He has seven times under 2:07.

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