Ethiopian clean sweep at Dubai Marathon

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Ethiopians dominated the Dubai Marathon in sweeping the men's and women's podiums on Friday.

For the third year in a row, a debutant won the men's title. Tsegaye Mekonnen Asefa, in his first marathon, won in 2 hours, 4 minutes, 32 seconds, improving the unofficial world junior record by 16 seconds. It was also the first sub-2:06 performance by an 18-year-old, according to organizers.

Asefa was 41 seconds ahead of Markos Geneti Guteta, with Girmay Birhanu Gebru a further 36 seconds back in third.

Ethiopians took the first eight places, and nine of the top 10.

"The pace was changing a lot during the first half, which was quite tough," Asefa said. "I could have run faster with an even pace."

Ethiopian women claimed the first nine places, and 15 of the top 16. The women's race has been won by an Ethiopian for eight successive years.

Mula Seboka Seyfu won in 2:25.01, followed by favorite Meselech Melkamu Haileyesus in 2:25.23, and Firehiwot Dado Tufa in 2:25.53.