Moroccan runners shone in the men’s 10km road race held as part of the NAS Sports Tournament in Nad Al Sheba. Image Credit: NAS

Dubai: UAE resident Anwar Al Ghouz led a trio of Morrocan runners in a sub-30 minutes time with the race at 29 minutes, 15 seconds as a Moroccan trio made a clean sweep in the men’s 10km road race at the sixth Nad Al Sheba (NAS) Sports Tournament in Nad Al Sheba late on Monday.

Following Ghouz in second spot was last year’s champion Ahmad Tamri with a time of 29:29 minutes while teammate Samir Jawaher followed in third with a time of 29:36 minutes.

The men’s open 10km race witnessed Portuguese professional triathlete Felipe de Azavedo wedge himself between the African duo of Esmail Ssenyange and Paul Muturi. De Azavedo, who shifted to the UAE a few years back, was second in a time of 33.02 minutes while Ssenyange went on to win the race with a time of 30:53 minutes leaving Muturi in third in a time of 33:29 minutes.

The women’s professional 10km race was won by Ethiopia’s Berhan Gebremichael with a time of 38:46 minutes, leaving the familiar UAE-based Latifa Essarok in second in a time of 39:45 minutes, while Moroccan Ameenah Mhih came in third in 41:40 minutes.

In the women’s open 10km race, it was another Ethiopian at the top of the podium as Yami Gurmu Belainesh ran a well-paced race to finish ahead of countrywoman Myriam Lamvre while Kathy Hallside was placed third.

Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council (DSC) and patron of the NAS Sports Tournament was present at the start line encouraging the athletes and later moved on to the finish to speak with the winners.

“I didn’t do anything special tonight. The weather was perfect, so I just kept my pace to ensure I had an edge over Ahmad [Tamri] all the time. Just after the midway mark, I saw Ahmad was tiring a bit. So I pushed myself and started running my own race to get under the 30-minute mark,” men’s professional 10km champion Al Ghouz told Gulf News.

In the women’s professional 10km race, it was a lonely affair with Gebremichael breaking free of the chasing pack just after the 2km mark. Thereafter, the Ethiopian maintained her pace to win in 38 mins, 46secs. Morocco’s Essarok, who has been a regular on the UAE sporting scene thought there was no way to catch the champion. “The pace was quick and I found myself tiring after the first couple of kilometres. So I thought it would be better to hang on to my pace and see how I finish,” Essarok added.