Tesfaye Tola running in the 2002 London Marathon (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Olympic bronze medallist Tola to guide young Ethiopian team to Vilamoura

There was a major surprise in the annual Ethiopian Half-Marathon Championships held here on Sunday (21 Sept) as eighteen-year old Dereje Adere took the men’s title.

However the championships, which serve as trails for the 12th IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships in Vilamoura, Portugal on 4 October 2003, were missing some of the big name stars. 
At the race held in the Sululta circuit, which is located in the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa, Adere beat Sydney Olympics Marathon Bronze medallist Tesfaye Tola into third place in a time of 61:49 to win the 21km-race.

Tola, who had begun the race as the favourite and looked to be in a commanding lead early on, had to be content with third place in a time of 62:14 behind Tariku Jifar, who was twelve seconds faster.

It was Tola’s first race since returning from an injury that ruled him out of the Ethiopian Marathon squad for the 9th IAAF World Championships in Athletics, Paris 2003 Saint-Denis, and he could not stop Adere who glided across the park in what seemed an effortless manner.

Girma Tola, who finished fourth in the World 10,000m in Sevilla’99, could only finish sixth as he continued his comeback after missing the entire 2002 season with injury.

In the women’s race, twenty-one year old Teyiba Erkesso was the star of the show winning the race in a time of 73:09 ahead of her club mate from the Prison Corrections Club Derebe Alemu. Erkesso, who could only manage to finish 20th in Bristol two years ago, broke off from the field at the 18th kilometres mark and finished twenty seconds ahead of Alemu with Mestaot Tufa coming in third in a time of 73:39.

Elshadai Negash for the IAAF

Ethiopian Half-Marathon Championships Results

1. Dereje Adere (Omedla) 61.59
2. Tariku Jufa (Rental Houses Sports Club) 62.02
3. Tesfaye Tola (Muger Sports Club) 62.14
4. Mesfin Haylu (Mechale Sports Club) 62.15
5. Solomon Tsege (Negash Sports Club) 62.16
6. Girma Tola (Mechale Sports Club) 63.04

1. Teyiba Erkesso (Prisons Correction) 73.09
2. Derebe Alemu (Prisons Correction) 73.29
3. Mestawot Tufa (Omedla) 73.39
4. Adanech Zekiros (Prisons Correction) 73.54
5. Ashu Kasim (Prisons Correction) 74.16
6. Sisay Me’eso (Omedla) 74.42

Ethiopian Team for the 12th IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships in Vilamoura, Portugal

Men                        Women
1. Dereje Adere      1. Teyiba Erkesso
2. Tariku Jufa         2. Derebe Alemu
3. Tesfaye Tola      3. Mestawot Tufa
4. Mesfin Haylu      4. Adanech Zekiros
5. Solomon Tsege  5. Ashu Kasim  
6. Girma Tola         6. Sisay Me’eso