World Cross: Ethiopia-Kenya, 4:4, by Alfons Juck

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Alfons Juck updates us on the World Cross Country in Amman, Jordan....note that German Fernandez had an injury the last two weeks before the World cross and is taking off the next month....

Ethiopia - Kenya 4:4

AMMAN (JOR): The 37th IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Amman registered another event totally dominated by two African countries. Their gold medal score ended this year equal, both Kenya and Ethiopia got each 4 gold medals. In terms of individual medals from 12 at stake, only three remained for other countries (two for Uganda and one for Eritrea) and in all four team contests they were 1-2 with bronzes going twice to Eritrea and to Japan and Portugal women getting the only medal for Europe. The medal ranking: 1. Kenya 4-4-1, 2. Ethiopia 4-3-1, 3. Uganda 0-1-1, 4. Eritrea 0-0-3, 5. Japan and Portugal 0-0-1. To compare last year in Edinburgh Ethiopia was clearly better with 6-4-1 ahead of Kenya 2-4-2 followed by bronze winners only Eritrea, Qatar, Uganda, Australia and Japan.

Junior women: Dibaba defended
Young sister of double olympic winner Genzege Dibaba defended the junior women title at 6 km with three seconds (20:14) margin over best Kenyan and track world junior champion Mercy Cherono (20:17). Bronze for 16 years old Kenyan Jackline Chepngeno (20:27). Australian Emily Brichacek was the best non-African as 11th (21:02). Best European as 13th Briton Lauren Howarth exactly one minute behind the winner. She was European CC bronze junior medalist last december. Close battle for team title as both Ethiopia and Kenya scored 18 points, the better last scoring position prevailed. Bronze for Japan (76) as last year followed by best European team Great Britain (82).

Junior men: Abshero gets it
Last time silver winner Ayele Abshero won for Ethiopia second junior individual gold at 8 km (23:26). Four seconds behind best Kenyan Titus Mbishei (23:30) who is silver medalist at 10 000 m last year in Bydgoszcz at World Juniors. Unheralded 18 years old Moses Kibet of Uganda was a surprise bronze medalist (23:35). Best non-African the US talent German Fernandez as 11th (24:13) and best European Russian Andrey Dmitriev placed 50th (25:58, 3:32 behind the winner.). In another close contest for the team title Kenya was this time better by 2 points ahead of Ethiopia (20-22) with Eritrea third (72). The only two European teams got positions 13 (Spain, 282) and 15 (Great Britain, 316).

Women: Kenyan triumph
Florence Kiplagat was only the second female Kenyan long course winner in the history of the event after Hellen Chepngeno back in 1994. The Renato Canova coached athlete clocked at 8 km 26:13 and remained unbeaten in this years CC season. She took with her as second junior winner 2007 and last year senior silver holder Linet Masai (26:16). Best Ethiopian and again third (her fourth individual bronze) was Meselech Melkamu (26:18). Linet Chepkurui was fourth (26:23) and helped Kenya to win the title clearly with 14 points. Next Ethiopian Wude Ayalew was fifth (26:23) and her team finished second (28). Best European was Kenyan-born Netherland´s representative and European CC Champion Hilda Kibet (26:43) as sixth. Interestingly favorites from milers department could not finish higher than 8th (Gelete Burka, 26:58) and 9th (Maryam Jamal, 27:00). Best non-African born athlete was New Zealand´s Kim Smith as 13th (27:05) with Portugal´s Ana Dulce Felix 15th (27:42). British talented multiple European junior champion Stephanie Twell in her world stage debut was 38th (28:46). That helped Portugal to get the team bronze (72) ahead of Spain (117).

Men: Experienced Gebremariam
After female success of Kenya men did not follow them. The best Kenyan Leonard Komon finished only fourth (35:05). That happened last time 2004 and 2005 when Kenya did not get any individual male medal. Experienced Ethiopian Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam in dramatic finish clocked 35:02 to win at 12 km. He won already silver in 2004 and bronze medal in 2003. Ugandan world medalist at 5000 m Moses Kipsiro was second (35:04) and that is first ever senior male medal for the country. Third the 2007 champion and last year bronze winner Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea (35:04). Top six were completed by Habtamu Fikadu of Ethiopia (35:06) and Kenan Matthew Kisorio (35:08). Other favorites could not come into top ten - Kenyan Moses Mosop was 11th (35:17) and Qatar´s Saif Saeed Shaheen 13th (35:28). Best non-African born was Spain´s Carles Castillejo as 26th (36:30) and Australian Collis Birmingham as 29th (36:38). Team contest again very close, Kenya had this time better last position and got the gold ahead of Ethiopia (both teams scored 28 points). Eritrea was third (50) and Spain best European team as 7th (140).

Special thanks to Alfons Juck, EME News.

For more on the world cross country, click to http://www.iaaf.org

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