Arab runners impress in Dubai marathon
United Arab Emirates, Sports, 1/12/2002
Arab runners Jassim Abbis and Ibrahim Hambi shone yesterday (Friday) as Kenya's Wilson Kibet made it three-in-a-row by winning the Samsung Dubai Marathon, while Russian teenager Albina Ivanova set a new record in the women's event in front of hundreds of spectators.
Finishing in overall 12th position in a time of 2:23:42 just 10 minutes behind Kibet, 35-year-old Abbis from Dubai shattered his own personal best and knocked a remarkable 10 minutes off the UAE national record, while Saudi Arabia's Hambi claimed 21st in a time of 2:39:18.
Held under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Minister of Defence and Crown Price of Dubai, the Samsung Dubai Marathon saw Kibet lead home a top ten which included eight Kenyan runners in a time of 2:13:04. Second home some 12 seconds behind was David Mutua while William Musyoki made it a 1-2-3 for Kenya a further 12 seconds adrift.
For the ladies, Ivanova proved to be the find of the event. Making only her fourth Marathon appearance, the 19-year-old Russian Rocket beat a talented field of more experienced athletes to break the previous women"s best by four seconds in a time of 2:33:31 and take the gold more than four minutes ahead of her nearest challenger Abebe Tola of Ethiopia in second (2:37:38). Third place went to Kazakhstan"s Irina Bogocheva in 2:39:25.
Making it a superb day for African distance running was the big crowd and competitor favourite Joyce Chepchumba.
The 31-year-old darling of Kenyan athletics and Olympic bronze medallist showed all her international class by comfortably winning the Samsung 10km run for ladies ahead of Angelina Kanana. The men"s 10km race, however, was the subject of investigation as the organizers looked into some competitor irregularities before determining the prize winners.
"It was much hotter than I expected today and certainly conditions were tougher than last year," said 28-year-old Kibet, after receiving his winner"s trophy and a cheque for $10,000 from Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed Al Maktoum and D.K. Byeon, Managing Director of Samsung Electronics, the event's title sponsors.
"It's a tough event but I love competing in Dubai and certainly aim to come back and defend my title again in 2003," added the modest man who just eight weeks ago won the Monaco Marathon on the French Riviera. Meanwhile, Ivanova was obviously delighted to have won the first marathon of her career and although she speaks no English the smile on her face said it all. "She has very little marathon experience but is being widely tipped as big star for the future," claimed her coach. "Dubai could be the start of big things for her."
Kibet and Ivanova's performances were among many memorable moments on a day which brought people of all faiths and nationalities to compete in the Marathon, the 10km and 3Km Fun Runs. Other sponsors of the event were JW Marriott, Highland Spring, Isostar, Kenya Airways, Al Khaleej, Dubai World Trade Centre, Khansaheb, Dutco, Deira City Centre and DTCM.
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