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World U18 and U20 champion Solomon Barega and ZeynebaYimer won close contests at the 2017 TOTAL Great Ethiopian Run 10km road race.
It has been a stellar 2017 for Barega who stormed to an impressive 3000m title at the World U18 Championships in Nairobi in July and followed it up with an impressive fifth place finish over 5000m at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in London a month later.
Solomon Barega who looked relaxed behind the pacesetters in the large group, suddenly took the lead at the halfway point with Moges following him closely. The chase pack failed to cover the sudden move as the duo opened up a two-way battle for the finish.
Moges tried the first breakaway attempt at the seven-kilometer mark, but Solomon fought him off en route to his victory in 28:36. Moges followed him across the line two seconds later with DawitFekadu winning the battle of the leading pack chasers for third.
Defending champion FotenTesfaye was the favorite in women’s race, but victory in this contest went to ZeynebaYimer, the world U20 cross country bronze medalist. As predicted, Tesfaye made her penultimate move in the waning stages with Yimer the lone challenger remaining to the finish. She piled on the pace trying to shake off Yimer to avoid a race to the line, but it was Yimer who stayed with her for about a kilometre before taking the lead. The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia runner roared on to victory in 32:30, but Tesfaye failed to maintain the runner up position, eventually overtaken by GirmawitGebrezer.
A record 44,000 participants started the race in the Ethiopian capital that saw three-time world half marathon champion LornahKiplagat, reigning Olympic 5000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot, and two-time Olympic 5000m champion MeseretDefar as guests of honor.