Ethiopia sweep at Boston Marathon

Ethiopia sweep at Boston Marathon

New York (AFP) - Lemi Berhanu Hayle and Atsede Baysa led an Ethiopian clean sweep at the 120th Boston Marathon on Monday with victory in the men's and women's races of the prestigious event.

Berhanu Hayle clinched victory in the men's race in a time of 2hr 12min 44sec, coming home ahead of compatriot and defending champion Lelisa Desisa in second.

Another Ethiopian, Yemane Adhane Tsegay was third in 2:14.02.

The winning time was well outside the world marathon record of 2:02.57 set by Kenya's Dennis Kimetto in Berlin in 2014.

Desisa -- a popular figure in Boston after donating his 2013 winner's medal back to the city as a gesture of solidarity with victims of the deadly bombing that rocked that year's race -- was the early pace-setter, pulling away with Berhanu Hayle near the 15-mile mark.

The two Ethiopians stretched away from the pack in a compelling duel that ended when Berhanu Hayle finally kicked for home in the closing stages to cross the line more than 40 seconds clear of Desisa.

The 21-year-old Berhanu Hayle, who finished 15th in the World Championships marathon in Beijing last year, had previously won marathons in Dubai, Zurich and Warsaw.

His victory in Boston is by far the biggest win of his career to date.

Baysa meanwhile won a pulsating women's race, producing a late charge over the final few miles to win in 2:29.19.

The 29-year-old had lagged by nearly 40 seconds at around the 22-mile mark but then moved through the gears to build a five-second lead over Tirfi Tsegaye after 25 miles.

Tsegaye eventually finished second in 2:30.03 with Joyce Chepkirui of Kenya third in 2:30.50. The leading times were well off Paula Radcliffe's 13-year-old world record of 2:15.25 set in London in 2003.

It was Baysa's first victory in Boston after other notable wins in Chicago, Paris and Istanbul.

Her path to victory was made easier when defending champion Caroline Rotich of Kenya dropped out after only five miles with what looked like an ankle problem.

The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon and one of the most prestigious races over the distance on the athletics calendar.

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