Mehari and Wudu share close connections with Ethiopia’s great champions

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If you need proof that running is in the family genes, you need look no further than the men’s winner of last Sunday’s 2023 Sofi Malt Great Ethiopian Run International 10km in Addis Ababa. 18-year old Binyam Mehari is the nephew of former world cross-country champion Gebreegziabiher Gebremariam, who also won this race back in 2002.

Coming into this race as a relatively unknown athlete Mehari powered clear over the final 3km to win by 24 seconds, one of the biggest winning margins in the race’s 23-year history. His winning time of 28 minutes and 18.72 seconds fell just a few microseconds short of Deriba Merga’s course record from 2006.

Mehari is coached by Hiluf Hihdego, husband to the 5000m world record holder Gudaf Tsegaye.

For Melkinat Wudu, the winner of the women’s race, her athletics family in Addis Ababa has been built up around double Olympic 5000m champion Meseret Defar and her husband Teddy Hailu. Hailu coaches both Wudu and Medina Issa and describes the two young stars as being “closer than sisters.”

Issa has been slated to start Sunday’s race alongside her training partner but received a late invitation to a 15km on 3rd December and chose the international race ahead of seeking glory on the streets of Addis Ababa.

Wudu had to produce a strong sprint in the race’s final hundred metres to see off the challenge of Megertu Alemu (2nd in this year’s London Marathon). Her winning time of 32 minutes and 27 seconds was more than a minute slower than Yalemzerf Yehualaw’s course record of 31:17 from 2021.

Tekien Amara finished 3rd, while 4th-placed athlete was Robe Dida, younger sister of Dera Dida, winner of this year’s Dubai Marathon.

Both winners picked up prizes of 200,000 birr ($3,575) for their victories, a record winner’s prize for any race in Ethiopia.

For full results, click here

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