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Ugandans Joshua Cheptegei and Prisca Chesang reign in Madrid

Two-time world 10,000m champion Joshua Cheptegei and Ugandan compatriot Prisca Chesang were victorious at the San Silvestre Vallecana, a World Athletics Elite Label road race, in ideal conditions in Madrid on Saturday (31).

The men's 10km race had been billed as a thrilling encounter between world 10,000m record-holder Cheptegei and Spain's world 1500m bronze medalist Mohamed Katir. The Ugandan star, who hadn’t competed since the World Championships in Oregon, took command of the pacing duties right from the start and his swift early pace could only be followed by Katir, his compatriot Jesús Ramos and Italy's Ilias Aouani.

The first kilometer, which includes an uphill section of about 350 meters, was covered by the lead quartet in 2:41. The speed then increased over the second kilometer, covered in 2:36 for a 5:17 2km split, with Cheptegei always at the helm. During the third kilometer the two Spaniards briefly took the lead to reach 3km in 8:00, a pace which proved too fast for Aouani.

Over the following kilometers, Katir and Cheptegei ran absolutely even, none of them ahead of the other and the tandem went through halfway in a brisk 13:16, still with Ramos for company. Ramos began to fade about 200 meters later and the race became a fascinating clash between Cheptegei and Katir.

The Ugandan, who holds the second ever quickest 10km performance of all time (26:38), tried to get rid of Katir after reaching 7km in 18:35, but the 24-year-old Spaniard remained in close attendance. The key move came with the clock reading 20:45, shortly before the 8km checkpoint, when Cheptegei finally managed to open up a gap of a few seconds over the Spaniard.

The Kapchorwa native progressively extended his lead over the ninth kilometer – the toughest of the race – and then cruised home in 27:09, the fifth quickest performance in Madrid, to finish 10 seconds ahead of Katir while Ramos managed to keep his chasing Spaniards at bay to finish third in 27:52.

“I knew Katir was going to be a tough rival since he has improved a lot over the last few seasons,” said Cheptegei. “Today's race was my first competition in more than five months so my only target was to regain sensations. Of course I also wanted to win so I’m leaving Madrid delighted.”

Chepetegi confirmed that he plans to defend his world cross-country title in Bathurst on 18 February and that he’ll likely make his marathon debut after the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Following the last-minute withdrawal of pre-race favorite Tsehay Gemechu, the early stages of the women's race became a three-way battle between world U20 5000m bronze medalist Prisca Chesang, Burundi's Francine Niyonsaba and Kenya's world steeplechase record-holder Beatrice Chepkoech. That trio covered the opening kilometers at 2:56/km pace, reaching 3km in 8:44, then the Ugandan teenager broke away from her rivals. By midway (14:29) she was six seconds ahead of Chepkoech, herself another 11 seconds clear of Niyonsaba.

The leader maintained her rhythm over the following kilometers but her pursuers' pace decreased. With a quarter of the race to go, Chesang's advantage on Chepkoech had grown to 18 seconds.

At the tape, Chesang was timed at 30:19, the third quickest performance here, bettered only by Brigid Kosgei (29:54) and Hellen Obiri (29:59) in 2018. Further back, Niyonsaba overtook a fading Chepkpech on the last uphill section to take the runner-up place in 30:58 to Chepkoech's 31:06.

Leading results

Men

1 Joshua Cheptegei (UGA) 27:09

2 Mohamed Katir (ESP) 27:19

3 Jesús Ramos (ESP) 27:52

4 Sergio Paniagua (ESP) 28:00

5 Aaron Las Heras (ESP) 28:04

6 Carlos Mayo (ESP) 28:04

7 Ignacio Fontes (ESP) 28:06

8 Carlos Díaz (ESP) 28:08

9 Nassim Hassaous (ESP) 28:13

10 Juan Anronio Pérez (ESP) 28:18.

Women

1 Prisca Chesang (UGA) 30:19

2 Francine Niyonsaba (BDI) 30:58

3 Beatrice Chepkoech (KEN) 31:06

4 Mahelet Mulugeta (ETH) 31:57

5 Naima Ait Alibou (ESP) 32:36

6 Laura Priego (ESP) 32:49

7 Nina Chydenius (FIN) 32:51

8 Laura Luengo (ESP) 32:53

9 Laura Méndez (ESP) 33:06

10 Clara Viñarás (ESP) 33:54.

(01/03/2023) Views: 604 ‚ö°AMP
by World Athletics
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San Silvestre Vallecana

San Silvestre Vallecana

Every year on 31st December, since 1964, Madrid stages the most multitudinous athletics event in Spain.Sport and celebration come together in a 10-kilometre race in which fancy dress and artificial snow play a part. Keep an eye out for when registration opens because places run out fast! The event consists of two different competitions: a fun run (participants must be...

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