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After smashing the world junior record in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, teenage sensation Tsegaye Mekonnen Asefa is targeting more record times – including the World Record itself in Dubai next year.
The 18 year-old won on his marathon debut in 2h:04m:32s and now intends to return to the UAE for an attack on the world record in 2015 and rival many of the feats of his great hero and fellow-Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie
“Next up I want to attack Haile’s Ethiopian record and then I would very much like to come back to Dubai and go for the world record in 2015,” said Tsegaye Mekonnen, who lives in Addis Ababa, also home to the three-time Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon champion Gebrselassie.
While Gebrselassie’s national best stands at 2:03:59, Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang broke the world record in Berlin last year with 2:03:23.
Tsegaye Mekonnen started proper training four years ago when he was still at school. Qualification for the World Junior Championships in Barcelona in 2012 was a major breakthrough for him when he finished fifth in the 5,000m final.
“Those championships were a big motivation for me and a crucial factor in my career because after that I fully concentrated on running,” said Tsegaye Mekonnen, who will use his Dubai prize purse of US$200,000 to improve his living standards. “I want to buy a car so I can be drive to the training venue and then I plan to buy a house.”
Although he ran his official debut last week, Mekonnen was involved in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon in 2013. “Last year I ran here as a pacemaker – that was when I decided I wanted to come back and run the full distance. I knew it was a big step up to the marathon but I concentrated on training for my debut.
“This year, I could have run faster but all of us in the leading group lost some energy during the first part of the race because the pace changed so often,” said Tsegaye Mekonnen, who established himself as the eleventh fastest marathoner of all times, running the 14th fastest time ever and the third fastest debut (not counting results from Boston, where the course is not eligible for records).
Once again the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon proved its super-flat course is perfect for very fast times, especially over the past three editions when a number of youngsters have made an instant impact on their marathon debuts.
Remarkably the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon has now seen ELEVEN athletes breaking 2h:05m – no other marathon in the world can match this – with ten of these times achieved over the past three years.
The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon was held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council and supported by the Dubai Sports Council, Adidas, Dubai Eye 103.8FM, Masafi, Dubai Holding, Dubai Police, the RTA and Dubai Municipality