Ethiopian marathoner Abebe Mekonnen, winner of this year's Tokyo...

BOSTON -- Ethiopian marathoner Abebe Mekonnen, winner of this year's Tokyo Marathon, will try to secure a spot on his nation'a Olympic team at the Boston Marathon April 18, race sponsors said Wednesday.

Mekonnen, 25, recorded his best time of 2 hours, 8 minutes, 33 seconds.


His other fastest times were 2:08:39, 2:09:05 and 2:09:08. Mekonnen won the Rotterdam, Addis Abba and Montreal marathons in 1986 and, in 1987, was third at Tokyo (2:11:54) and second at Paris (2:11:09).

Ethiopia, along with Great Britain, Italy and Mexico, view performances at Boston as critical in determining their Olympic teams. Kenya, Tanzania and Finland designate Boston as their official trials race.

Other Ethiopians running the Boston Marathon include Wodajo Bulti, who recorded the second fastest 10-kilometer (6.2 miles) time in the world last year (27:24); Taddesse Gebre, winner of Ethiopia's 30-kilometer (18.6 miles) championship earlier this year; and Tesfaye Dadi.

The men's elite field includes Tanzania's Juma Ikangaa, the world's top-ranked marathoner in 1986; Kenya's Ibrahim Hussein, winner of the 1987 New York City Marathon; Steve Jones of Wales, who holds the world's second fastest time of 2:07:13; and two-time Boston winner Geoff Smith of England.


Also scheduled to run are Gelindo Bordin, the Italian world champion; countryman, Orlando Pizzolato, a two-time New York winner; and Ahmed Saleh of Djibouti, who holds a career best of 2:08:09.

Portugal's Rosa Mota will return to Boston to defend her women's title. Her closest competition appears to be Great Britain's Priscilla Welch, winner of last year's New York Marathon.

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