Dubai, Jan 22, 2016: IAAF President Sebastian Coe is presently visiting the Middle East where he met and presented medals to the winners of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, organised by the UAE Athletics Federation.
Dominated by strong performances from Ethiopian athletes, the race holds the distinction of being the only event in the region which is a member of the IAAF Gold Label Road Race circuit.
The top mass-participation event in the region, there were a record 37,000 participants across the three races (marathon, 10km and 4km) and medals were awarded to everyone that crossed the finish line.
Tesfaye Abera won the men’s race in 2:04:24 and Tirfi Tsegaye won the women’s title in 2:19:41, while Britain’s John Smith won the wheelchair race with a qualifying time for the Rio Paralympic Games.
Sebastian Coe commented: “It was a real privilege for me to be invited to start the Dubai Marathon. It is a world-class road race gaining reputation every year with growing public participation and an international reputation for great organisation. Running is one of the few global sports where the general public can participate in the same event as the elite competitors, crossing the same finish line. It’s an important ingredient in road running’s enormous popularity.”
The IAAF President this afternoon then flew to UAE’s gulf neighbour Qatar. Elected last November as the Chairman of the Board of the Diamond League, Sebastian Coe was advised about preparations for the Doha 2016 Diamond League meeting on 6 May. In 2010, Doha became the first city to host an IAAF Diamond League meeting. Each season since then, it has continued to launch the top-tier invitational track and field circuit.
Spread across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the USA, the 14-meeting IAAF Diamond League series includes a competition programme of 32 events representing virtually the full spectrum of Olympic track and field disciplines, and offers a total of US$8million in prize money.
Sebastian Coe will conclude his visit to the region on Saturday morning with a visit to Doha’s Khalifa Stadium which will be the venue for the 2019 IAAF World Championships.
Sebastian Coe commented: “The Doha Diamond League annually attracts a world-class field whose performances set the bench mark for quality each season. And, in an Olympic year, people will be looking for Games form and of course, qualifying marks ahead of Rio 2016.” —- IAAF
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