Abdi triumphs in the Rotterdam Marathon in a world leading 2:03:47

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  • Abdi triumphs in the Rotterdam Marathon in a world leading 2:03:47

Belgium’s Olympic bronze medallist Bashir Abdi triumphed in the Rotterdam Marathon on Sunday (16) for the second time in his career, winning in a world leading time of 2:03:47.

Abdi, however, was disappointed to fall narrowly short of his European record of 2:03:36 which he set in this race in October 2021.

"There was a strong wind and the pacemakers didn't do their job perfectly today either because there was a lot of variation in the pace," said Abdi as quoted by Belgian website Sporza.

Abdi put in a massive effort in the second half to bring the record back into view. He surged through 30-35 kilometres in a sizzling 14:11 which contributed to a significant negative second half split of 61:32.

These heroics rewarded Abdi not only with his second career sub-2:04 performance but also the second fastest time in history from a European standpoint. 

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And the Belgian believes there is also more in the tank. “I have the feeling that there was more to do today, but I am already very happy that I was able to defend my title.

"Now I will focus more on the shorter distances to work on my speed. Everything I do now is in the context of the Paris Olympics,” said Abdi, who won by three seconds from Kenya’s Timothy Kiplagat in 2:03:50.

It was a successful outing for the European contingent with three European athletes finishing in the top six.

Seventh at 30 kilometres, Olympic silver medallist Abdi Nageeye from the Netherlands, who won this race last year, rallied in the closing stages to finish third on home soil in 2:05:32 despite a chequered build-up to the race. 

“A few weeks ago I started coughing in Ethiopia. I missed some training sessions. I knew that I was missing pace. That third place was achieved purely on endurance. When the rest accelerated, I knew I couldn't keep up,” said Nageeye.

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And Abdi’s compatriot Koen Naert, the 2018 European champion, finished sixth in a lifetime best of 2:06:56.

“I felt really good and was lucky with the hares. I had someone with me until the 35th kilometre, but after that I was alone. So the last part was really difficult, especially because of the wind. I really had to work hard to stay under 2:07,” said Naert. 

In the women’s race which was won by Bahrain’s Eunice Chumba in 2:20:31, Spain’s Fatima Ouhaddou Nafie and Poland’s European champion Aleksandra Lisowska both clocked 2:26:44 to finish fourth and fifth respectively.

Boch prevails in the Linz Marathon 

There was further European success in the Linz Marathon in Austria on Sunday (16) morning with Germany's Simon Boch winning in a lifetime best of 2:09:25, his first sub-2:10 clocking, ahead of Kenyans Evans Kiprono (2:09:56) and Jackson Rutto (2:12:02).

In the women's race, Domenika Mayer, who finished sixth in the marathon at the 2022 European Athletics Championships in Munich and helped Germany to team gold on home soil, finished second in 2:28:47 behind Kenya's Teclah Chebet who won in a course record of 2:27:18.


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