World Cross-Ethiopia Takes all 4 Individual Titles! by Alfons Jock, Commentary by L. Eder


The World Cross Country had two firsts-the first time Ethiopia took all four individual medals and first time Africa gets all individual medals. Kenenisa Bekele, despite coming very close to a disasterous lost of a racing spike, in lap two, managed to keep his wits and shoe one and run to his sixth long course title. On the women's side, two Dibaba's won-you will have read on to find out!




EDINBURGH (GBR, Mar 30): Rainy Holyrood Park and nearly 20, 000 spectators saw,despite cold weather (seven degrees) a clear African dominance and especially Ethiopian. This Eastern African country for first time ever won all four individual titles (and also two team golds out of four). Kenya achieved similar thing back in 1994, but this time remained with two team golds and only two individual silvers. Only three team medals went to other continents as Australian women finished third, Qatari men along with Japan junior women also third. Ethiopia and Kenya won all golds and silvers. Europe finished without any position at the podium. The highest individual was by Hilda Kibet of Netherlands (but Kenyan origin) who was fifth in women race and highest team were British junior girls as fourth.


Kenenisa Bekele confirmed who is the best cross country runner ever. He won in Edinburgh his sixth long course title and that is one more than legends John Ngugi and Paul Tergat. In total that was his 12th individual gold from World Cross Country Championships and 27th medal overall including the team silver from today. "It was not easy," he said after almost losing his running shoe on the second of the first two short laps. He clocked 34:38 and beat by 3 seconds Kenyan Leonard Komon (34:41) and title defender Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea (34:43). In the team competiton Kenya prevailed clearly before Ethiopia and Qatar. Since 1986 Kenya won all title in this event except of two going to Ethiopia in 2004 and 2005. Spain´s Juan Carlos de la Ossa was the best European as 24th (36:15) and Spain was also best European team as 8th.


Senior women champion was finally the top favorite, reigning world champion at 10 000 m Tirunesh Dibaba with 25:10. It was her third title after 2005 and 2006 and silver last year. Already the third invidivual title for Ethiopia in Edinburgh and Mestawet Tufa as second (25:15, her first senior individual global medal) confirmed another double for this African Country. Last year junior champion Linet Masai won the bronze for Kenya (25:18). Ethiopia also won its seventh team title in a row beating Kenya by small margin of four points. Hilda Kibet who represents Netherlands and is cousin of last year world champion Lornah Kiplagat finished fifth (25:35) and registered the best European placing. British women were the best European team at 6th position.

JUNIOR MEN Junior men race in Edinburgh another individual title for Ethiopia as Ibrahim Jeylan won (22:38) and second unknown Ayele Abshero (22:40) made it for Ethiopian double with best Kenyan only third (Lucas Rotich, 22:42). But Kenya made up the ground with winning the team title before Ethiopia by 7 points (21-28) with Uganda third (37). Best European as 23rd Hassan Chahdi of France (24:04) with Great Britain beeing the best European team at 9th position. Since 1988 Kenya won all junior men titles but one (Ethiopia in 1998).


Gold medal for Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia, younger sister of Tirunesh, Ethiopia wins team competition before Kenya. Silver for Kenyan Irene Cheptai and bronze for Ethiopian Emebet Eta´a. The "small" Dibaba did not expect to win, but claimed her sister gave the best advice. Tirunesh won this title back in 2003. Best European British Charlotte Purdue as 16th and her team was 4th.


1.ETH 6-4-1, 2. KEN 2-4-2, 3. ERI, QAT, AUS, UGA, JPN 0-0-1


MONTE CARLO (MON, Mar 30): Kenyan male and Russian female domination was the main fact at todays 11th Monaco Marathon which switched its traditional Autumn date to spring. Geoffrey Mutai won in 2:12:40 and missed by more than a minute the course record of Kenneth Cheruiyot (2:11:26 in 1999). Second Jacob Kitur improved his PB to 2:13:22 and third Joel Kemboi Kiplimo achieved also a PB with 2:13:50. Only sub 2:10 runner in the field Patrick Chumba was only 10th (2:24:25). Best European Russian Sergey Fedotov finished 8th (2:20:40). Elena Kozhevnikova from Chelyabinsk won the women´s race for Russia clocking 2:41:21 and beating her teammates Elena Tikhonova (2:48:10) and Zhanna Malkova (2:50:37). Dutch Kristijna Loonen was not in Praha at half-marathon but finished here fifth (2:51:30).

TREVISO (ITA, Mar 30): Italian 2005 winner here Denis Curzi won the 5th Treviso Marathon in 2:13:27. His best is 2:11:17 from the same race in 2006 (fourth). Only behind him the Kenyan group headed by Peter Loumuria who improved to excellent 2:13:47 in his first sub 2:20 race of the career. Samson Koskei as third (2:15:10) and Kenneth Kiptoo as fourth (2:15:39) still went under 2:16. Interesting US entry by Clint Verran who finished seventh (2:17:51). Slovenian veteran Helena Javornik (42) achieved a respectable win in olympic qualifying time 2:28:36 and missed her national record from 2004 by a minute (2:27:33). It is one of the fastest times ever in masters category 40+, British Priscilla Welsch achieved 2:26:51 in London, 1987. At that time she was 42 and 169 days, Javornik is 42 and 5 days. Italian Laura Giordano (31) as second improved to PB 2:37:36. Record 6200 runners participated, but course records 2:10:18 and 2:28:03 remianed untouched.

WARSZAWA (POL, Mar 30): Kenyan favorite Michael Karonei won the 3rd Carrefour Warszawa Half-marathon achieving 1:02:49. His teammate Joel Komen was second (1:02:56) and third best home runner Henryk Szost with PB of 1:02:59. He aims to attack the olympic qualifiying time next month in Debno. Ethiopian Hursa Mare Dibaba won the women race (1:11:24) and second Malgorzata Sobanska missed the Polish record only by two seconds with 1:11:47 PB. For her excellent preparation for Rotterdam Marathon in two weeks.

BRATISLAVA (SVK, Mar 30): In 3rd CSOB City Marathon in Bratislava Ukrainian Vasyl Remshchuk in his debut achieved first sub 2:20 in the short history of the event 2:19:42. His prize was 60 000 Slovak Crowns for win and 10 000 for course record (approx. in total more than 2000 E). In Slovakia competing Poland´s Bogdan Dziuba was second (2:23:50) and home runner Imrich Magyar debuted with 2:25:55. Hungarian Katalin Farkas won the women race in 2:56:29 before title defender Dana Janeckova of Slovakia (3:02:02). New course records in Half-Marathon by Russian Nadezhda Trilinska (1:15:57) and in Germany living Kenyan Samson Loywapet (1:06:09). In women category second Hungary´s Ida Kovacs (1:16:14) and third Slovak Katarina Beresova improved to 1:16:33. In men´s second Italian World CC participant Bernard Dematteis achieved 1:06:56. In excellent spring weather in all races 1668 participants from 27 countries, in marathon nearly 300.

ATLANTA (USA, Mar 30): The ING Atlanta Marathon last year winner Russian Natalya Levushkina finished this year in second edition of the event second in 2:43:17. Belarussian Alena Vinitskaya who was fourth a year ago won this time clocking 2:41:12. Michael Godeny (28) was the best man in 2:17:11 beating Russian Oleg Marusin (2:18:50). Kenyan Janet Cherobon repeated her half-marathon win here with solid 1:13:46. Nearly 15 000 runners participated. Former great Grete Waitz was a special guest here.


WIEN (AUT, Mar 30): Austrian marathon record holder Susanne Pumper won the Energie Half-Marathon in Vienna with 1:13:22. Martin Steinbauer was the best man clocking 1:05:27.

SEGOVIA (ESP, Mar 30): Kenyan Clement Koech won the half-marathon here achieving 1:05:58, best woman was Morrocan Malika Assahsah (1:16:34).

MADRID (ESP, Mar 30): Poland´s ultra specialist Jaroslaw Janicki won the 22nd Madrid 100 km race with a final time of 6:53:06. Second Miguel Angel Jimenez won the Spanish title (7:07.52).

COMPIEGNE (FRA, Mar 29): The final meet of French indoor Pole Vault series „Perche Elite Tour" was won by Renaud Lavillenie (553, and trying 569) and national record holder Vanessa Boslak (443 and missed new french indoor record 466).

MOLFETTA (ITA, Mar 30): Italian Osaka 50 km bronze walker Alex Schwazer won the Club Championships in track walking as he went the 20 000 m in 1:23:33.85. As informs specially his last five km in 19:50 were impressive. 25 years old Jean-Jacques Nkouloukidi improved to 1:23:46.28 as second. Elisa Rigaudo won the women 10 000 m in 45:30.39.

EME NEWS is news service relating to the sport of athletics. It is published on daily basis with additional updates, as required. Copyright is held by Alfons Juck, Perinvest SK, a.s., Krikova 10, 82107 Bratislava, Slovakia. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. The redistribution and/or direct reproduction of material from EME NEWS is prohibited unless permission is given by c Perinvest SK (such as being included in a subscription agreement).Email to respond: [email protected]

Used with permission of publisher, Alfons Juck.

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