Sutume Assefa returns to Yangzhou Marathon


Ethiopia’s Sutume Asefa will return to the Yangzhou Jianzhen International Half Marathon today, aiming to retain the title she took from the 2017 edition of the IAAF Gold Label road race.
The 24-year-old landed a 1:10:30 victory at the scenic Chinese city two years ago after winning a duel against fellow Ethiopian Ababel Yeshaneh in the final kilometer. After renewing her personal best to 1:07:54 with a victory in Milan last March, she failed to compete at her best level in Yangzhou last month and only finished ninth in 1:12:11. While Sutume will be keen to bounce back and regain the top honors, she will meet great challenge in front of a loaded field.
Compatriot Degitu Azimeraw could be the biggest threat. The 20-year-old showed great quality in just her first year in senior level, clocking 1:06:47 in her first international half marathon race last February and winning the Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon with another sub-70-minute run last April.
With the absence of four-time defending champion Mosinet Geremew of Ethiopia, who set the course record of 59:52 in 2015, Bahrain’s Abraham Cheroben, runner-up last year, is the highest returner with the fastest PB in the line-up. The 26-year-old will target nothing but the top place of the podium in his third consecutive appearance in Yangzhou.
The field also includes Kenyan Wilfred Kimitei who clocked a PB of 59:40 last year as well as Berehanu Tsegu of Ethiopia, who stormed to 59:41 on his half marathon debut last month.