FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BEKELE LEADS STAR BATTLE FOR WOMEN'S CROWN AT
STANDARD CHARTERED DUBAI MARATHON
- Last Three Winners In Head-To-Head Clash -
Dubai (UAE): While the focus will be on Haile Gebrselassie as he targets a
new world best at the 2010 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, an all-star
battle is in prospect in the women's category as defending champion
Bezunesh Bekele fights to keep her crown.
Bekele, who clocked a time of 2h:24m:07s in winning in a rain-lashed 2009,
will face a serious challenge for her title from former winners Askale Tafa
Magarsa and Birhane Adere in what is the strongest line-up of female
distance runners ever seen in the region.
Askale, who opted out of last year's event due to injury, returns to the
scene of her 2007 triumph with a personal best that is better than any of
her rivals - 2h:21m:31s - while for Adere it marks a chance to recapture
the title she won in 2008 but surrendered to Bekele last year.
"To have the last three champions line up in the women's event - as well as
having twelve men under 2h:10m in the male category - underlines the
enormous strides made by this event over the past few years," said Standard
Chartered Dubai Marathon Event Director Peter Connerton.
"The quality of the two fields is exceptional and we thank all the athletes
for agreeing to compete over what we believe to be one of the best road
tracks in the world. Thanks must go to our title sponsors Standard
Chartered and to Dubai Holding for their support in making the even one of
the most popular sporting dates of the year."
While Gebrselassie was setting the eight fastest time in history in the
men's event last year, the diminutive Bekele claimed the women's US$
250,000 first prize in a time of 2h:24m:02s, with compatriot Atsede Habtamu
Besuye in second (2h:25m:17s) and Kenya's Helena Kirop in third
Although Besuye will not be in the line-up on this occasion, third placed
Kirop has shown that she is coming bang into form. Kirop recently took part
in a Shoe4Africa 5km Women's Race in Kenya and saw off the challenge of 500
other runners to take gold in a time of 16m:33.37s.
Kirop, using the race to gauge her progress towards Dubai, braved a strong
wind and chilly course at over 2,400m to beat Jean Kisa by eighteen seconds
with Winny Jepkemboi in third in a race organized by Kenyan-born half
marathon record holder Lorna Kiplagat.
"After my standard 40km run at the weekend, I wanted to work on my speed
but when I got ahead of the pack and saw no-one was responding I decided to
go for it," said Kirop. "It was a great early Christmas present for me."
Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice
President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, and staged under
the aegis of the Dubai Sports Council, the Standard Chartered Dubai
Marathon is supported by Dubai Holding, Dubai Sports Council, The Westin
Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina, ARN and DMI, TNT, Fitness First,
Men's Fitness, Vittel Water, RTA, Dubai Municipality and the Dubai
Emergency Services. Online registrations are still being accepted at