Dubai: Runners from Ethiopia dominated the 2012 Dubai Women’s Run 10k, but it was the UAE national team duo of Bethlem Belayneh and Alia Mohammad Saeed who hogged the limelight in the 5km at The Palm Jumeirah on Friday morning.
While Belayneh and Saeed took the top two spots in the 5km, Yami Gulma Belainesh and Elfnesh Dibaba Wako from Ethiopia were third and fourth and Great Britain’s Emma Phillips, who had won the 10km race last year, fifth.
Belayneh, who became the first woman athlete to represent the UAE at this summer’s London Olympic Games, finished in a modest 16 minutes and 42 seconds, but that was enough to keep her ahead of defending champion and teammate Saeed (16.45).
The 10k run saw an Ethiopian come home first, as Tehy Gebre Gissow finished in 34.27, leaving Russia’s Natalia Puchkova (34.32) in second and Hungary’s Erdelyi Zsofia (35.19) third.
Dobromir Karamarinov, President of the Association of the Balkan Athletic Federations (ABAF) and President of the Bulgarian Athletic Federation (BAF), presented the winners with their prizes and trophies in the presence of Adv. Ahmad Al Kamali, President of the UAE Athletics Federation (UAE AF), and Nasser Al Rahma from the Dubai Sports Council.
Though not pleased with their times in the race, both Belayneh and Saeed were happy to use this race as part of their preparations for next month’s West Asian Athletic Championships, to be held in Dubai.
“This was a good run for me after the Olympics and the time could have been faster if it was not for the humidity,” Belayneh told Gulf News.
Saeed, who clocked 15.38 on her way to victory last year, thought she suffered due to a slow start. “But it is okay with me as one of us has won the race,” she said.
A total of 3,626 runners registered for the event — an increase of more than 400 compared to last year. “This race is about the sustainability of the race and we are glad we are meeting the dual goal of women’s health and fitness at the same time,” said event director Liesa Euton.