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Shankule leads Ethiopian 1-2 in world women’s marathon

Amane Beriso Shankule led an Ethiopian 1-2 as she won the women’s marathon at the World Athletics Championships on Saturday.

Shankule, whose victory at last year’s Valencia marathon put her third on the world all-time list, timed 2hr 24min 23sec on the streets of Budapest.

Defending champion Gotytom Gebreslase claimed silver, 11sec behind, with Morocco’s Fatima Ezzahra Gardadi taking bronze in 2:25.17 in scorching and humid conditions with temperatures hitting 29 degrees Celsius (84 degrees Fahrenheit) by the time the race finished.

Israel’s Lonah Chemtai Salpeter finished fourth, just ahead of a third Ethiopian, Yalemzerf Yehualaw, with Rosemary Wanjiru the first Kenyan home in sixth.

“We knew if we worked together we could get a better result, and we worked well as a team today,” Shankule said of the Ethiopian quartet’s race strategy.

With 10km to run, a lead pack consisting of Wanjiru, Salpeter and the four Ethiopians — Tsehay Gemechu, Gebreslase, Yehualaw and Shankule — broke clear.

Gemechu then fell off the pace allowing her three Ethiopian teammates to go clear, with Wanjiru and Salpeter dropping 10 seconds as the east Africans surged.

The Ethiopian trio’s lead doubled over the next 2km to the 36km mark.

Turning the screw, Shankule was the front runner with 5km to go, building up a small lead on Yehalaw and Gebreslase.

A fast-charging Gardadi moved into third as the final 2km loomed and Yehalaw tired.

‘Get rid of the rest’

But there was no such fatigue shown by Shankule, this year’s Boston Marathon runner-up looking strong through to the line.

“We got the lead group down to six and then we pushed away with four of us. That was our plan because there was such a strong field,” explained Shankule, 31.

“After we got rid of the rest, then it was a battle with my tough teammates. Gebreslase is a strong athlete and she wanted to defend her title. But all our team are strong.

“We wanted to win all three medals, of course, but that didn’t go to plan in the end. We took gold and silver and we are happy with that. We expected the conditions to be tough and we prepared well for it.”

Gebreslase, who won in the fastest ever time in a women’s championship marathon, 2:18:11, at the world championships in Eugene last year, said: “The main goal was to bring home the gold. I am proud we Ethiopians are keeping the title.

“I am also proud of Amane and personally I am really amazed I have won another medal at the world championships. The main difference between Oregon last year and Budapest is the weather.

“It was very cold in Oregon, and it is very hot in Budapest, but we knew the conditions are going to be tough.”

Gardadi said her bronze medal signified “the beginning for my career”.

“The result was not a surprise for me because I ran three times 2:23 this year,” she said.

“The last time was in Rabat where the conditions were the same as here in Budapest.”

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