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Kenya toppled by Ethiopia in Paris marathon

Ethiopia’s Abrha Milaw and Gelete Burka celebrate their victories in the Paris marathon © AFP / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

PARIS, France, Apr 14 – Kenya’s hopes of stretching their dominance in Paris Marathon hit a snag after two-time defending champion Paul Lonyangata settled for third as Ethiopia reigned supreme in both men and women races on Sunday.

Milaw clocked 2:07:05, with Kenyan rival Lonyangata coming in third as 49,155 runners took to the streets of the French capital in cold, clear conditions.

The Ethiopian win saw Kenya surrender both the men’s title that they have dominated for the last five consecutive tears and the women’s title that they have bragged of for the last three succesive years.

Gelete Burka produced a spurt of extra gas in the final kilometre to ensure an Ethiopian winner in the women’s race with a time of 2:22:48.

France’s Clemence Calvin, who was only cleared to race on Friday after the last-minute lifting of a temporary ban for evading a doping test last month in Morocco, smashed the French women’s record.

Calvin finished fourth in 2:23:41, bettering by 41 seconds the previous national record set by Christelle Daunay in 2010.

It also bettered by almost three minutes her own previous best of 2:26:28 which she set when finishing second in the European championships in Berlin last year.

“I stuck with it right to the end, I don’t care what my detractors think,” said Calvin.

“There was only a very small minority of malicious people,” she added.

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“I have the courage of those who withstand a blow and are planted like the Eiffel Tower. I’m not afraid of anything or anyone.”

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