Ethiopia’s Ashete Bekere triumphs in Rotterdam Marathon


Ethiopia’s Ashete Bekere showcased her dominance at the Rotterdam Marathon, claiming victory with a superb time of 2:19:30 in the World Athletics Gold Label road race on Sunday.

Bekere, the 2019 Berlin Marathon winner, led a strong contingent of runners including her compatriot Sisay Meseret Gola and Kenya’s Selly Chepyego and Viola Kibiwot.

The elite group maintained a brisk pace, reaching the 10km mark in 32:42 and remaining on course record pace as they passed key milestones.

By the time they reached 25km in 1:21:23, Bekere had edged ahead, maintaining a steady stride and building a significant lead. She continued to push forward, creating an eight-second advantage by the 30km mark, which she crossed in 1:37:48.

Despite some slowing in the latter stages of the race, Bekere’s commanding performance ensured she crossed the finish line unchallenged in 2:19:30, securing a well-deserved victory.

Viola Kibiwot of Kenya finished second with a strong time of 2:20:57, followed by Selly Chepyego, also from Kenya, who claimed third place in 2:22:46.

The Rotterdam Marathon was not only a test of athletic prowess but also a poignant event marked by a minute of silence in honor of world record-holder Kelvin Kiptum, who tragically passed away in February.

Kiptum had aimed to break the two-hour barrier for the marathon on a record-eligible course, making his absence deeply felt among the running community gathered in Rotterdam.

Olympic silver medalist Abdi Nageeye. PHOTO: World Athletics

In the men’s race, Olympic silver medalist Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands reclaimed the Rotterdam Marathon title, setting a new national record of 2:04:45. Nageeye’s performance surpassed his previous record set during his 2022 victory by 11 seconds.

Nageeye faced stiff competition from Ethiopia‘s Amedework Walelegn and Birhanu Legese, also from Ethiopia, throughout the race.

The trio formed part of a leading group that maintained a strong pace, passing 10km in 29:06 and 20km in 58:31. By the 30km mark, reached in 1:28:09, the group had narrowed down to a decisive pack of contenders.

As the race approached its climax, Nageeye and Walelegn emerged as the front-runners, with Nageeye strategically biding his time to make a decisive move. With a powerful kick in the final stretch, Nageeye surged ahead, leaving Walelegn unable to respond.

Abdi Nageeye’s victory in 2:04:45 capped off an exhilarating day of marathon racing in Rotterdam, highlighting the elite athleticism and determination of the competitors.

The Rotterdam Marathon once again proved to be a stage for record-breaking performances and memorable achievements, solidifying its status as one of the premier events in international road racing.

PHOTO: World Athletics

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