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Tokyo 2020

Setting new Israeli Olympic record, Marhu Teferi finishes 13th in Tokyo marathon

Israeli team’s 2 other participants place 28th and 37th out of field of over 100 runners; Eritrean migrant living in Israel places 16th for refugee squad

Runners compete during the men's marathon at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Aug. 8, 2021, in Sapporo, Japan. (AP/Shuji Kajiyama)
Runners compete during the men's marathon at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Aug. 8, 2021, in Sapporo, Japan. (AP/Shuji Kajiyama)

Marhu Teferi finished 13th in Sunday’s men’s Olympic marathon, setting a new Israeli record for the competition.

Teferi crossed the finish line after two hours, 13 minutes and two seconds — less than five minutes after Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, who pulled away late to defend his Olympic marathon title.

The previous Israeli record for an Olympic marathon was held by Ayele Seteng, who finished 20th in the 2004 race in Athens.

The Israeli team’s two other participants in the 42-kilometer race — Girmaw Amare and Haimro Alame — finished 28th and 37th, respectively, out of a field of over 100 runners.

Tachlowini Gabriyesos, an Eritrean migrant living in Israel, placed 16th for the Refugee Olympic Team.

Kenya’s Kipchoge finished in two hours, eight minutes and 38 seconds on a breezy and humid morning on the streets of Sapporo. He was more than 80 seconds ahead of runner-up Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands. Bashir Abdi of Belgium earned bronze to close out the track and field portion of the Tokyo Games.

On a day with plenty of cloud cover, Kipchoge cruised. The temperature was around 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 Celsius) at the start and climbed to 84 (29).

Humidity was at 81% as the runners wound their way through Sapporo, which is located about 500 miles (about 830 kilometers) north of Tokyo. The race was moved to escape the extreme heat, but it was about the same temperature Sunday in Tokyo — and rainy.

Kipchoge smiled along the way and even fist-bumped a fellow racer. Kipchoge is the third athlete to win multiple gold medals in the men’s marathon, joining Abebe Bikila (1960, ’64) and Waldemar Cierpinski (’76, ’80).

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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