ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopian Yalemzerf Yehualaw on Sunday smashed the women’s half marathon world record at the Antrim Coast event in Northern Ireland while her compatriot Jemal Yimer won the men’s event.
The twenty-two athlete clocked 63 minutes and 43 seconds which cut 19 seconds off the previous mark set by Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich earlier this year.
“This was a dream come true for me,” the 22-year-old Yehualaw told worldathletics.org.
“I have tried twice before to break the world record but it didn’t happen, but I’m so happy it happened today in Larne.”
The performance was even more impressive as Yehualaw finished fourth in the Ethiopian Trials 10,000 metres and did not make the team for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
She also missed out on gold, finishing third at the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia last October.
“At the World Half Marathon Championships I was trying to win gold but it didn’t happen,” Yehualaw added. “But today I’m so happy.”
Kenya’s Vane Nyamboke and English Rose Harvey finished the race second and third, respectively.
In the men’s event, another Ethiopian athlete, Jemal Yimer, won the Antrim Coast Half Marathon in 60:29 as he edged out his compatriot Tesfahun Akalnew.
Jemal had one second to spare from Akalnew with Kenyan Shadrack Kimining a further second back as he completed an all-African top three.
According to BBC sport, the men’s winning time in the World Athletics Label race was two seconds outside the 60:27 course record set by Sir Mo Farah when he won last year’s inaugural event.
Featured image: Athlete Yalemzerf smashed the women’s half marathon world record on Sunday (Photo Sajjad HUSSAIN AFP)