Dibaba sprints to thrilling marathon win in Beijing

Sun Aug 30, 2015 1:07am EDT
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BEIJING (Reuters) - Ethiopia's Mare Dibaba won the women's marathon at the world athletics championships after a thrilling sprint finish along the home straight of the Beijing National Stadium on Sunday.

The 25-year-old Dibaba out-kicked Kenya's Helah Kiprop to win the grueling event by just one second, crossing the finish line in two hours, 27 minutes and 35 seconds.

The long-striding Kiprop briefly threatened to take the gold medal when she loomed up on the outside of Dibaba with 50 meters left to run but couldn't get past the pint-sized Ethiopian.

Kiprop faded slightly and had to settle for the silver medal, while the bronze went to the reigning Asian champion Eunice Kirwa, who was born in Kenya but now competes for Bahrain.

Ethiopia has a long and proud tradition in marathon running but Dibaba was the first Ethiopian female to win the lung-sapping event at the world championships.

"I'm so happy to get the first medal for my country," she said through a translator.

"Just after 40km, I tried to test them. I came out in front because I wanted to control. Then we came into the stadium, I just tried my best.

"I take off and I win the marathon."

Dibaba went into the race as the favorite after recording the fastest time in the world this year but was unable to shake off her mostly East African challengers on a overcast morning in the Chinese capital where conditions were less brutal than usual.   Continued...

Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia crosses the finish line first to win the women's marathon at the 15th IAAF Championships at the National Stadium in Beijing, China August 30, 2015.  REUTERS/David Gray