DUBAI // UAE Olympian Betlhem Desaleyn returns to her home track this week after undergoing an intense training camp in Ethiopia ahead of Friday's Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon 10km road race.
The 21 year old triumphed in the emirate's race last January and followed it up with an appearance at the London Olympics last summer, where she competed in the heats of the women's 1,500m. Now she is back in the UAE and ready to defend her title.
"I've been doing a lot of long runs and conditioning training for this race," she said. "It's a nice feeling to run in Dubai because it's a big-name race these days and seeing some of the athletes registered last year, it was special to win.
"Usually, 10km is not my chosen event and I just ran last year to get some experience, so it was an even better feeling to come away the winner."
As well as making her Olympic debut, Desaleyn - who was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, before being naturalised by the UAE - participated in the 1,500m and 3,000m at Asia's Indoor Games in Hangzhou, China.
She collected silver medals in both events. She also competed in the International Association of Athletics Federations' World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, where she finished fifth in her heat.
"I had a little bit of an injury recently, but now I am doing well and looking towards the 2016 Olympics where I want to be one of the best athletes in my field," she said. "For this goal, I will try my best."
Desaleyn said her personal best at 10km distance is 33 minutes and five seconds, but is hoping to break that record on Friday morning.
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