Kenya’s Cherono wins men’s Boston Marathon in sprint to tape

Kenyan Lawrence Cherono edges Ethopian Lelisa Desisa for first place for the Men's Elite race, at the 123rd Boston Marathon. (AFP)
Updated 16 April 2019
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Kenya’s Cherono wins men’s Boston Marathon in sprint to tape

  • Cherono needed every bit of his speed to outkick Desisa in a sprint to the tape
  • Worknesh Degefa ran alone for the last 20 miles to claim the $150,000 first prize in the women’s race

BOSTON: Two-time Boston Marathon champion Lelisa Desisa turned onto Boylston Street with a sliver of a lead, leaning in front of two other runners with the finish line in sight.
Unfortunately for him, one of them was the fastest man in the field.
Lawrence Cherono needed every bit of his speed to outkick Desisa in a sprint to the tape on Monday, passing him just steps away from the finish line to win the 123rd Boston Marathon in 2 hours, 7 minutes 57 seconds.
Desisa, who won in 2015 and 2013, the year the race was overshadowed by a bombing at the finish line, eased up after realizing he was beaten and finished 2 seconds back. Kenneth Kipkemoi was third, another 8 seconds behind, one of seven Kenyans in the top 10.
“It was no man’s race to win,” said Cherono, who had won in Seville, Prague, Honolulu and twice in Amsterdam but never in a major marathon before. “I kept on focusing. And at the end, I was the winner. I’m so grateful, so happy.”
Worknesh Degefa broke away from defending champion Des Linden and the rest of the women’s pack in the Framingham flats and ran alone for the last 20 miles to claim the $150,000 first prize and a gilded olive wreath from Marathon, Greece.
The 28-year-old Ethiopian, who set a national record while finishing second in Dubai less than three months ago, won in 2:23:31. Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat was second, reducing a gap of more than two minutes to 42 seconds at the finish.
American Jordan Hasay was third and Linden was fifth.
“Seeing Degefa go out — you know her ability, you know what she’s done and you wonder how it translates to this course,” Linden said. “But when she starts putting down those super quick miles, you say ‘All right, this is her race to lose.’ She becomes the outlier and you let her just go and hope that she might come back.”
She didn’t.
Instead, she became the eighth Ethiopian woman to win the race and the third in seven years. A half marathon specialist, Degefa had never seen the Boston course before Monday.
“Last year, I watched all the marathon coverage,” she said. “I kept that in my mind.”
One year after an icy rain and a near-gale headwind resulted in the slowest winning times in four decades, race organizers again prepared for the foul New England weather. But overnight thunderstorms moved on before the runners left Hopkinton; the sun even made an appearance about halfway through.
Linden took advantage of last year’s storm to splash her way to the first win for an American woman since 1985.
But with conditions back to normal, so were the results: East Africans from Kenya and Ethiopia dominating the podiums. At the 30K mark the lead pack was still close to a dozen and included three of the last four champions: Desisa, 2016 winner Geoffrey Kirui and ‘17 champ Lemi Berhanu Hayle.
“I was afraid of the guy who won two years ago. After he dropped out, I decided to win,” said Desisa, who did not finish in either of the last two years. “I tried at the last, I saw (Cherono) suddenly, then I couldn’t control the pace.”
A field of 30,000 runners followed the elites, ditching their trash bags and ponchos on the Hopkinton Green before embarking on the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton to Copley Square. It’s the first time the race has been run on April 15 since the 2013 attacks; officials held a ceremony at 2:49 p.m. to honor those killed and maimed by the two pressure cooker bombs that exploded near the finish line.
Daniel Romanchuk, 20, became the youngest-ever men’s wheelchair champion in Boston, finishing in 1:21:36 for the fastest time ever for an American. Manuela Schar won the women’s wheelchair race for the second time, adding it to her titles in in Berlin, Chicago, New York and Tokyo.
If she wins in London in two weeks, she will have swept the World Marathon Major series.
“I was just really happy that the weather turned out to be actually really nice,” said Schar, who set a course record in 2017. “When we drove to that starting line, it looked really really bad and I was worried because last year was still in our heads, and I had a really bad experience last year. Today I would say (was) unfinished business.”


Tazkarti ticketing platform draws criticism in Egypt ahead of Africa Cup of Nations

Updated 32 min 41 sec ago
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Tazkarti ticketing platform draws criticism in Egypt ahead of Africa Cup of Nations

  • Tazkarti will be the sole source of tickets for the tournament

CAIRO: Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) host country Egypt has launched an online ticketing platform called Tazkarti, which will be the sole source of tickets for the tournament, which begins June 22.

Its aim is to combat ticket touts and black market sales for the continent’s biggest football tournament, and to ensure that ticket prices remain fixed at the price decided by the AFCON organizing committee. It is also a measure of the steps Egypt is taking to ensure that the tournament passes peacefully. 

Football stadiums have been almost entirely empty since 2011 because of security issues after long-time President Hosni Mubarak stepped down following national protests in which football fans played a major role, resulting in violent, often lethal, clashes with police and between rival fans.

In 2012, Port Said stadium witnessed a riot that left 72 Al-Ahly supporters dead after a pitch invasion by Masri supporters at the end of a Premier League game. In 2015, 19 Zamalek fans were killed and 20 injured when police attempted to disperse large crowds making their way into a Cairo stadium to attend a Premier League game. 

Those were just two of several incidents that meant authorities imposed a ban on people attending football matches or severely restricted the number of people that could do so.

Every AFCON ticket purchased via Tazkarti will be scanned at the stadium to ensure it matches the holder’s “Fan ID.” If it does not, the holder will not be allowed into the ground.

Tickets for matches featuring the Egyptian national team range from 200 to 2,500 Egyptian pounds ($12-$150), while other matches range from 100 to 500 Egyptian pounds ($6 to $30).

While those prices might sound affordable to outsiders, in a country where a doctor earns around $90 to $179 per month, many have found themselves priced out of the tournament already.

“I am a married dentist with three kids. If I want to attend a match with my family, I would have to pay 1,000 pounds ($60), (not including) transportation and snacks,” Dr. M. Sheta, who lives in Damietta, told Arab News.

“To book a cinema ticket nowadays ranges between 70 and 100 pounds and a good meal costs 100 pounds minimum. If I can afford that, then I can afford AFCON tickets,” said a housewife in Mansoura, who asked to remain anonymous.

Plenty of young Egyptians took to social media to express their displeasure with the ticket prices.

“This is a clear message that middle-class Egyptians are not welcome,” said Ahmed Zahran.

“I would rather pay a total of 10 pounds at any coffee shop and watch the matches there,” said Ahmed El-Tlabanty.

Some fans believe that the prices have been set high to discourage Ultras (the most passionate football fans) from attending.

An administrator of the “Ultras Ahlawy” Facebook group, while stressing that he hoped supporters “have fun watching AFCON,” asked Arab News: “Why would I pay 200 pounds to watch a match? I do not (make hundreds of pounds).”

Aside from issues with the high prices, people have also been widely critical of the technical performance of the new ticketing platform, which has been under pressure from high demand for Fan IDs.

“You guys are so disrespectful and unprofessional. I’ve been trying to reach out for more than two weeks and no one is answering — not on messenger nor the hotline. You made the whole championship experience the worst,” wrote Fatma El-Dardiry. “I called your customer service at least five times, placed three complaints and texted you on Facebook more than once. Now, the tickets of cat 1 and 2 for the opening match have already sold out.”