Athletics

Bekele, Dibaba coast to victory

Kenenisa Bekele (AFP)
Kenenisa Bekele (AFP)

Manchester - Ethiopian athletics legends Kenenisa Bekele and Tirunesh Dibaba eased to victory in their respective races in the Great Manchester Run on Sunday.

Bekele, a three-time Olympic gold medalist on the track, raced alongside world marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang of Kenya for much of the 10 kilometres course.

However, the 31-year-old - who indicated he may have an equally glorious career ahead of him in road racing when he won his debut marathon in Paris in April - kicked away in the final 400 metres to finish in a time of 28 minutes 23 seconds.

Kipsang, also fresh from a marathon triumph in London where he set a new course record, came in five seconds back while South Africa's Steve Mokoka was some distance back in third.

"I'm very happy to win here after having run the marathon recently," said Bekele.

"There was a lot of wind so I tried to hide behind Kipsang and save my energy."

A beaming Kipsang was delighted with his showing.

"This is a short distance for me but I still showed I have the speed.

"We shall meet again and over the longer distance (the marathon)," said the 32-year-old, who took marathon bronze in the 2012 Olympics.

Bekele, also a four-time 10 000 metres world champion as well as once the 5 000m titleholder, said that he and Kipsang would face many battles over the marathon distance in the years to come.

"I will run some races on the track still but Wilson and I are the same age and the same level so we will be competing against each other for years to come," said Bekele.

Dibaba, a three-time Olympic champion and five-time world champion on the track, was never troubled and came home over a minute clear of her nearest rivals Gemma Steel of Great Britain and Polline Wanjiku of Kenya.

"The course was very good but the wind was a problem," said 28-year-old Dibaba.

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