Mon, Dec 11, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Asian Games: Mubarak Hassan Shami dominates marathon for Qatar

AP , DOHA

Kenyan-born Mubarak Hassan Shami won the Asian Games marathon for host Qatar yesterday, finishing almost three minutes ahead of his nearest rival.

Shami, who was formerly known as Richard Yatich before taking Qatari citizenship last year, finished the 42.2km seaside Corniche street circuit in 2 hours, 12 minutes and 44 seconds.

Bahrain's Khalid Kamal Yaseen, also born in Kenya, narrowly beat Satoshi Osaki of Japan in a photo finish after both had 2:15:36.

Shami pulled away from the pack at the 25km mark and continued to extend his lead in the final stretch under sunny skies in humid 23?C conditions.

"I broke away because everybody else in the race was running very slow," Shami said.

"The chase pack today was much too slow. That makes my gold medal much easier to get," he said.

Shami and Yaseen, formerly known as Peter Ndegwa, are among several Kenyans who have switched nationality to one of the Persian Gulf states in return for better funding and opportunities to compete.

"Everybody in Kenya is running, is running faster, everyone wants gold," Shami said. "If I was in Kenya, maybe I would not be able to run for the country."

In other athletic events, Guzel Khubbieva of Kazakhstan easily qualified for the 200m as she looks to add another title to the 100m gold she won at Khalifa Stadium on Saturday.

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