February 21, 2015

TOKYO (AP) Endeshaw Negesse won the Tokyo Marathon on Sunday, leading an Ethiopian sweep of the men's and women's titles in the first event of the World Marathon Majors series.

Negesse crossed the finish line with a time of 2 hours, six minutes to finish 33 seconds ahead of Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda. Defending champion Dickson Chumba of Kenya was third in 2:06:36.

With Sunday's win, Negesse improved his chances of representing Ethiopia at the Aug. 22-30 athletics world championships in Beijing.

''Today's race was a bit difficult because of the cold temperatures and slight rain,'' Negesse said. ''But it's a great result and should allow me to earn a place on my national team.''

Negesse's compatriot Birhane Dibaba took the women's title with a time of 2:23:14. Helah Kiprop of Kenya was second with a time of 2:24:03 followed by Ethiopian Tiki Gelena in 2:24:26.

About 36,000 runners took part in Sunday's race through the streets of Tokyo. Security was tightened because of recent threats of terrorism.

The Tokyo race is one the World Marathon Majors along with Boston, Chicago, London, Berlin and New York.

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