x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Olympic priorities for Emirati Bethlem Desalyn after Dubai conquest

She takes the tape in 34 minutes and 14 seconds, 30 seconds ahead of Emebet Belew of Ethiopia, to win women's 10km run at Dubai Marathon.

DUBAI // Bethlem Desalyn will turn her focus back to her preparations for the 2012 London Olympics after flying in to defend her 10km crown at the Dubai Marathon on Friday.

The Emirati returned home from her training camp in Ethiopia on Wednesday and cantered to victory in the women's 10km, taking the tape in 34 minutes and 14 seconds, 30 seconds ahead of Emebet Belew of Ethiopia.

"It was a good race," Desalyn said. "I won here last year, as well, so I am so happy to do it again. Now hopefully I can now qualify for the Olympics and represent the UAE.

"This event is like training for us. We run 1,500m and 5,000m. Now we will go for Olympic qualification when the European season starts."

She said she is going to the World Indoors meet in Turkey in March. "After that, hopefully we will be in London" for the 2012 Summer Games, she said.

Desalyn and Alia Saeed Mohammed are aiming to become the first Emirati women athletes to qualify for an Olympics.

The latter did not run yesterday because she has been advised to avoid road races ahead of the world meet in Istanbul. "Bethlem was very relaxed because there was no one around to compete with her," said Ahmed Al Kamali, the president of the UAE Athletics Federation.

"Her coach just asked her to take it easy. She ran a 34, which is not bad."

arizvi@thenational.ae

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