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The 2013 annual Boston Marathon showdown, which is generally considered the event of the two East African nations, Ethiopia and Kenya, will field eighty athletes. The Ethiopian line up will consist of four men and four women athletes while neighboring Kenya will compete with five men and three women athletes.
Two out of the four Ethiopian athletes in the men’s event have times under 2:05 hours while the other two are currently in their best form. Former New York marathon winner Gebregziabher Gebremariam who represented Ethiopia in the London 10,000 meter race, and was third in the 2011 Boston marathon, spearheads the Ethiopian squad and is one of the favorites to bring home the title. The 2011 Los Angeles marathon winner Markos Genete, Paris and Mumbai marathon runner-up Ragi Assefa and little-known athlete, Abdulahi Dawit, are the Ethiopian men’s contingent expected to mount a strong challenge to defeat the number one favorite, Kenyan Moses Mosop, the course record holder with a time of 2:03:06. Mosop leads the five-man strong Kenyan contingent, thereby putting the course record in jeopardy. In the women’s event, Two- time winner of the Dubai marathon, Asselefech Mergia, is the primary focus among organizers. With the Dubai course record of 2:19:31 under her belt, Asselefech is the inspiration for the three Ethiopian women athletes who are ready to do battle against the Kenyans with three athletes. World half marathon winner Messeret Hailu, Frankfurt winner Mamitu Deska and fresh face Alemitu Assefa are the ones in contention. Following Tiki Gelana’s London Olympic marathon victory, Ethiopian women athletes are on the way up to stardom at international events.