Athletics - Ethiopian athletes take Dubai Marathon spoils

Ethiopia were dominant at the Dubai Marathon with a clean sweep of the podium positions in both the men’s and women’s races.

Debutant Lelisa Desisa sprung a big surprise as he pulled away from a five-man pack in the final mile to emerge victorious in a winning time of 2:04.45 in what was the second successive year a newcomer had prevailed.

The 23-year-old's compatriots Berhanu Shiferaw and Tadese Tola came through three and four seconds behind him for second and third places respectively on Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard.

"I have a good sprint and I was confident that it would win me the race," Desisa said.

"I had aimed for 2:06 for my debut, but when I saw the time at the finish I was shocked. If I can find a similarly good course, and my coach agrees, maybe next time I can go for the world record."

The women’s crown was claimed by overwhelming pre-race favourite Tirfi Tsegaye, who clocked 2:23.23 to convincingly beat runner-up Ehitu Kiros by 16 seconds.

Amane Gobena was a further 11 seconds back in third place as Ethiopia completed the top six spots, with seven of their elite-level athletes inside the first 10 to cross the finish line.