Mare Dibaba has become the first Ethiopian woman to win the marathon at the world athletics championships in Beijing. Three Ethiopian and three Kenyan athletes finished in the top ten.
On the final day of the championships, a tactical marathon ended in a three-way sprint into the Bird’s Nest stadium. Mare Dibaba saw off the challenge of Kenya’s Helah Kiprop to take the gold medal with a time of 2hr 27min 35sec on Sunday. Kiprop was just one second behind.
In third place, Kenyan-born Eunice Kirwa claimed bronze for her adopted nation of Bahrain in 2:27:39. Defending champion Edna Kiplagat was fifth, coming in behind Kenyan teammate Jemima Sumgong.
The 25-year-old Dibaba is just 1.51 meters (4 feet 11 inches) tall and weighs 38 kilos (84 lb). She came into the race as favorite.
Sunday’s race was held under grey skies in Beijing with air quality described as “moderate” by the US Embassy Beijing Air Quality Monitor. A “moderate” level indicates “unusually sensitive individuals may experience respiratory symptoms.”
It is the final day of the championships with events including the men’s high jump, the women’s javelin, the women’s 5,000 meters, men’s 1,500 meters and the 4 x 400 meter relays.