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Kenyan Lobuwan Luka Rotich wins Athens Marathon

Xinhua, November 14, 2016 Adjust font size:

Kenyan athlete Lobuwan Luka Rotich won the 34th Athens Authentic Marathon on Sunday in his debut in the original course. However, the thousands of Greeks and foreign spectators greeted all participants as winners in the major annual sports and culture event.

The 28-year-old Kenyan runner crossed the finish line at the Panathinaic Stadium in the centre of Athens in 2:12:49 from Marathon city to Athens which was first run by legendary Athenian soldier Pheidippides more than 2,500 years ago.

Rotich did not manage to break the record on the authentic course held since 2014 from Kenyan runner Felix Kipchirchir Kandie, but shared his joy with two of his compatriots.

Kenyans Kipruto Benson and Kimtai Andrew Ben ranked second and third in the men's division respectively.

In the women's division Kenyan runner Nancy Arusei won the first place clocking 2:38:13. She was followed by Algerian Kenza Dahmani and Greek runner Rania Rempouli.

Christoforos Meroussis, the winner of last year' s race when international elite athletes did not reach Athens due to the capital controls, was the first Greek to cross the finish line on Sunday clocking 2:24:58.

"Congratulations to all for the effort. They are all winners... I dedicate it again to my family ,because they give me strength, to my little son who is here for first time and saw me racing, and as always to my homeland Chios," said the 34-year-old athlete who also run the Marathon in the Rio Olympics this summer.

Regardless of positions and times all athletes and amateur runners who crossed the finish line inside the marble venue of the 1896 first modern Olympics, including those participating in the 10km and 5km distances, were cheered by the crowd.

Among the over 100,000 spectators were Marathon race legends such as retired Ethiopian runner Haile Gebrselassie and the Estonian triplets Leila, Liina and Lily Luik who participated in the Rio Olympics and run the 10 kilometers course in Athens on Sunday.

Participants were also greeted by the members of Greece' s Olympic team in this summer' s Olympics who paraded inside the stadium as part of the special celebrations the organizers from the Hellenic Sports Federation (SEGAS) had staged this year to mark the 120th anniversary of the revival of the race on the original course in modern times during the 1896 Athens Olympics. Endit