Doha, Oct 6: Former world silver medalist Lelisa Desisa led a one-two finish for Ethiopia in the men's marathon race of the 2019 athletics world championships that concluded here on Sunday.
The 29-year-old, who took a silver at the 2013 worlds in Moscow and finished seventh four years ago in Beijing, clocked 2 hours, 10 minutes, 40 seconds to claim the title.
His teammate Mosinet Geremew, the fastest entrant in the field with a career best time of 2:02:55, lagged four seconds behind to notch the silver medal. Kenya's Amos Kipruto finished third in 2:10:57.
The race started in midnight local time. Derlys Ayala of Paraguay took a bold sole lead after five kilometers. Although his lead was as large as more than one minute, Ayala was caught by a crowded chasing group after passing the 20km water station in 1:02:38.
The race was later paced by a leading pack of four runners, including the eventual top three finishers as well as Stephen Mokoka of South Africa. The quartet remained together until British Callum Hawkins joined them after 39km.
The Ethiopian duo kept pushing the pace. Mokoka was the first to drop back, followed by Hawkins and Kipruto. Desisa held off a powerful charge from his countryman in the home straight dash before breaking the tape in style to celebrate his victory.
"This is a great medal for me and for Ethiopia. I am very happy to bring Ethiopia this title after so long. I did perfectly what my coaches told me and I won the race," Desisa said. "With one kilometer to go I thought this is like the end of a 10,000m race and I started to push."
Ethiopian runners only won the men's marathon once at the world championships before when Gezahegne Abera clocked 2:12:42 in Edmonton in 2001. (UNI-Xinhua)