Report13 May 2017

Gebresilase and Gebru achieve Ethiopian double in Okpekpe


Ethiopia's Leul Gebresilase on his way to victory (© AFP / Getty Images)

Ethiopia’s Leul Gebresilase and Azemra Gebru took top honours at the Okpekpe Road Race, an IAAF Bronze Label Road Race, on Saturday (13).

After an opening half of 14:25 with nine athletes still in contention, the men’s race came alive in the second half.

Gebresilase, the runner-up at the 2015 edition of this race, forged on ahead in the closing stages to win the 10km race in 29:28. The African Games silver medallist led an Ethiopian podium sweep as Jemeli Bekele took second place in 29:34, four seconds ahead of Ismail Juma, last year’s runner-up.

The women’s race boiled down to a three-way battle.

Kenya’s Veronica Maina had a 12-second lead at half way, which she reached in 16:16, but she was unable to maintain pole position through to the finish.

Ethiopia’s 2011 African junior 3000m champion Azemra Gebru caught Maina in the second half of the race and went on to win in 33:59. Maina held on for second place in 34:19 with 2005 world cross-country silver medallist Alice Timbilili taking third in 34:39.

Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF