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Turkey’s Yasemin Can and Burundi’s Thierry Ndikumwenayo claim Italica titles

Turkey’s Yasemin Can and Burundi’s Thierry Ndikumwenayo secured respective victories at the Cross Internacional de Itálica on the outskirts of Seville in what was the sixth World Athletics Cross Country Tour Gold meeting of the season, on a sunny and pleasant Sunday (20).

While Can prevailed over Uganda's Peruth Chemutai in a thrilling clash, Ndikumwenayo unleashed a sprint victory over his training partner Rodrigue Kwizera and a star-studded line-up.

The women’s contest was held over the slightly longer distance of 10.1km, but that was no barrier for Olympic steeplechase champion Chemutai, who took control of the race from the start. After just one minute into the race, only Kenya’s Purity Chepkirui and Nancy Jepleting, Yasemin Can and Ethiopia's Meselu Berhe managed to stay close to the 23-year-old Ugandan. Berhe was the first casualty as she began to lose ground before the second kilometer.

While Chemutai made most of the pacing duties at 3:18/km pace, 2021 world U20 1500m champion Chepkirui ran closest to her shoulder with four-time European cross-country champion Can in third and Jepleting in fourth. The first serious move came just before the fourth kilometer when Chemutai's relentless rhythm began to pay off as firstly Jepleting and then Chepkirui began to falter, leaving Can as Chemutai’s only rival.

Way behind the top-five, Spain's Isabel Barreiro, the winner in Amorebieta, headed a five-woman chase pack which also included steeplechase specialists Irene Sánchez-Escribano and Olympic finalist Carolina Robles, plus 5000m specialists Marta García and Portugal's Mariana Machado.

After successive 2.5km loops of 7:56 and 7:54, Can decided to take charge of the race, moving ahead of Chemutai with Chepkirui 14 seconds in arrears. Midway through the penultimate lap, Barreiro injected a brisker pace in pursuit of Jepleting and Berhe.

Can and Chemutai, timed at 8:01 for the penultimate lap, were locked in battle as they set off on the final lap. The Ugandan, who placed fifth at the 2019 World Cross in Aarhus, tried to get rid of Can on an uphill section with 750 meters remaining, but the Turk held off her challenge to regain the lead, launch her attack some 450 meters from home, eventually crossing the finish line unopposed in 32:31 to the Ugandan's 32:34.

More than a minute further back, Chepkirui secured third place while Barreiro displayed the form of her life as she passed Jepleting and Berhe to finish fourth. A fast-finishing García was a creditable fifth as she pipped Berhe in the home straight.

At the finish line, Can expressed her happiness at the win and felt optimistic about her chances at the European Cross Country Championships in Turin on 11 December, the day of her 26th birthday.

Ndikumwenayo maintains momentum

The men's race started with Spain's 2017 European cross-country silver medalist Adel Mechaal at the front of the pack. The 32-year-old led a large group with all the main favorites such as Ndikumwenayo, his fellow Burundian Rodrigue Kwizera and the Kenyan pair of Stanley Waithaka and Levy Kibet in close attendance.

With the clock reading 11:00, the in-form Ndikumwenayo moved to the front for the first time to head a group of eight. Ndikumwenayo heated up the pace as the leading group covered the second lap in 7:09 for the opening cicuit's 7:21. By halfway, Spain's world 1500m bronze medalist Mohamed Katir was in second place ahead of Kwizera and Waithaka, but midway through the penultimate circuit Eritrea's Merhawi Mebrahtu took the lead and his frantic pace whittled down the lead group to six men. After another swift lap, which only took 7:04, Kwizera led at the bell with Ndikumwenayo and Katir closest to him.

The Castellón-based Kwizera pushed hard throughout the closing lap, setting a cadence that Katir could not maintain before entering the final kilometer. Shortly afterwards, 19-year-old Mebrahtu lost any chance of a podium place and the race became a double Burundian-Kenyan affair, a duel resolved in favor of the former as Kwizera and Ndikumwenayo managed to build a sizeable margin on the Kenyan pair some 500 meters from home.

The two leaders completed the final lap in a brisk 6:50 before negotiating the tricky final bend. Once again, Ndikumwenayo – who ran a world-leading 7:25:93 for 3000m earlier this year – produced a speedy finish and prevailed over Kwizera, but only just as both were credited with the same time, 28:51. Six seconds back, Kibet took third place after overtaking Waithaka in the closing stages.

“This is my third win a row this cross country season,” said a delighted Ndikumwenayo. “I'm surprised because I only began to train a couple two months ago after the summer break but I feel great both physically and mentally. I'll now stop competing and will do a 25-day training camp in the altitude of Sierra Nevada (3479m). My next event might be a New Year’s Eve race in Spain but it's not confirmed yet.”

Leading results

Women

1.- Yasemin Can (TUR) 32:31

2.- Peruth Chemutai (UGA) 32:34

3.- Purity Chepkirui (KEN) 33:47

4.- Isabel Barreiro (ESP) 33:57

5.- Marta García (ESP) 34:07

6.- Meselu Berhe (ETH) 34:08

7.- Carolina Robles (ESP) 34:11

Men

1.- Thierry Ndikumwenayo (BDI) 28:51

2.- Rodrigue Kwizera (BDI) 28:51

3.- Levy Kibet (KEN) 28:57

4.- Stanley Waithaka (KEN) 29:00

5.- Merhawi Mebrahtu (ERI) 29:08

6.- Mohamed Katir (ESP) 29:17

7.- Nassim Hassaous (ESP) 29:27.

(11/22/2022) Views: 115 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Cross internacional de Italica

Cross internacional de Italica

The Cross Internacional de Itálica is an annual cross country running competition it will be held on 21st of November in Santiponce, near Seville, Spain. Inaugurated in 1982, the race course is set in the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Italica. As one of only two Spanish competitions to hold IAAF permit meeting status, it is one of...

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Obiri and Kwizera are the favorites in Madrid

The 57th San Silvestre Vallecana, a World Athletics Elite Label Road Race and possibly the most prestigious of the myriad of New Year's Eve races around the world, will return to its usual circuit (December 31) after a change last year because of the pandemic.

The women’s race on the slightly downhill 10km point-to-point course – which starts alongside the famous Santiago Bernabeu stadium of Real Madrid and finishes on the pitch of another Spanish first division club, Rayo Vallecano, in the Madrid suburbs – has Kenya’s distance ace Hellen Obiri as the athlete to beat.

The two-time world 5000m champion and Olympic silver medalist finished second in Madrid in 2018 after a thrilling battle with her fellow Kenyan and current world marathon record-holder Brigid Kosgei. Obiri’s outstanding 29:59 time then proved not enough to take the victory, but the 32-year-old will be eager to claim victory in Madrid for the first time on her opening appearance this winter.

Yet the reigning world cross country champion Obiri will face tough opposition provided by Ethiopia’s Degitu Azimeraw, 10 years her junior. Azimeraw is an accomplished road specialist, having recorded the second quickest ever marathon debut when she won in Amsterdam in 2:19:26 in 2019 to also break the course record in the Dutch city.

After another fine performance over the classic distance of 2:19:56 for sixth in Valencia in 2020, the Ethiopian moved to 11th on the world all-time list last October following her runner-up spot in London in a big lifetime best of 2:17:58. Azemiraw boasts a relatively modest 31:03.32 10,000m clocking set in Hengelo a couple of years ago. The NN Running Team athlete will be joined by her teammates Lonah Salpeter of Israel and Haven Hailu from Ethiopia.

The 33-year-old Salpeter holds the European 10km record with a 30:05 time to her credit set in Tilburg in 2019, one year after she won the European 10,000m title in Berlin. She attempted to land an Olympic marathon medal in Sapporo, remaining in a four-unit leading pack until the 36th kilometer, but some stomach problems ultimately hampered her aspirations. After that disappointment, Salpeter bounced back eight weeks later to place fifth at the London Marathon in her second quickest time of 2:18:54, not particularly far from her career best of 2:17:45 run in Tokyo in 2020 which makes her the eighth fastest woman in history.

Watch out too for the 23-year-old Hailu, as she was an unheralded distance runner until this year but clocked 2:20:19 for third in Amsterdam in October. She will compete in the company of her fellow Ethiopian Likina Amebaw Ayel, a 32:20 performer.

The men’s contest is also shaping up well as the classy cast includes the in-form Burundian Rodrigue Kwizera. The 22-year-old is enjoying a fantastic cross country season on Spanish soil, having taken victories at several prestigious events such as Soria, San Sebastian, Atapuerca, Italica and Venta de Banos. While the race record of 26:41 set by Jacob Kiplimo in 2018 seems unreachable, Kwizera should run well under the 28-minute barrier for the first time in his career.

Trying to deny Kwizera top spot will be Spain’s 2021 sensation Mohamed Katir, who broke three long-standing national records in the short space of 33 days. The rising Spaniard began his tally by clocking 12:50.79 for 5000m in Florence on 10 June, continued with a 3:28.76 1500m performance in Monaco on 9 July and concluded in style by taking the win over 3000m in Gateshead four days later, timed at 7:27.64.

In his first appearance at a major championships, Katir finished eighth at the Tokyo Olympics over 5000m. He more recently took the spoils at the Jean Bouin, a 10km road race held in Barcelona on 28 November, when he outsprinted Eritrea’s Merhawi Mebrahtu after a one-month stint at the altitude of Font Romeu. The 23-year-old’s next primary goal is the indoors, where he will try to excel over 3000m.

Kenya’s Shadrack Koech and Uganda’s Boniface Abel Sikowo should also be in the hunt for a podium place on Friday. The former holds a 27:21 10km lifetime best, while Sikowo is an 8:25.91 3000m steeplechase athlete who is tackling the road events and ran a 1:01:44 half marathon debut in Barcelona in October.

Not to be discounted is Kenya’s Emmanuel Kiplagat, as the 19-year-old clocked 28:28.02 for 10,000m last summer at the altitude of Nairobi.

In addition to Katir, Spanish hopes rest on Nassim Hassaous and Abdessamad Oukhelfen as they finished seventh and 12th respectively at the European Cross Country Championships in Dublin to lead Spain to team silver, while marathon runners Ayad Lamdassem (2:06:35) and Yago Rojo (2:08:56) will be aiming for a top 10 spot. The Tokyo Olympics 1500m 13th-placed Ignacio Fontes will also be in contention.

Weather forecasters predict perfect conditions for the race, with a mild and windless night, and temperatures between 12 and 14ºC by the time of the event.

(11/15/2022) Views: 128 ⚡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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Azimeraw and Katir end year on a high in Madrid

Ethiopia’s Degitu Azimeraw and Spain’s Mohamed Katir captured commanding wins at the San Silvestre Vallecana, a World Athletics Elite Label road race, in Madrid on 31 December on a perfect night for running.

Azimeraw, contesting her first race since her 2:17:58 runner-up finish at the London Marathon in October, won in 30:26, the third-fastest winning time in the event’s history. Katir, meanwhile, won in 27:45, becoming the first Spanish man in 18 years to win in Madrid.

Two-time world 5000m champion Hellen Obiri had been due to compete but she tested positive for Covid-19 and had to pull out on the eve of the race.

The women’s race started at a swift pace, the first kilometre being covered in 2:54 by Azimeraw, her fellow Ethiopian Haven Hailu and Kenya’s Edinah Jebitok. Israel’s Lonah Salpeter and Ethiopia’s Ayel Likina were a few strides behind, covering the first kilometre in 3:00.

The pace proved to be too quick for Hailu who lost ground before the third kilometre, covered in 8:46 by the lead group. Azemiraw and Jebitok went through the halfway point in 14:38, the quickest ever split and well on schedule to break the tough course record of 29:54. By then, Haven ran in third 13 seconds behind, Salpeter clocked 15:04 for Likina’s 15:11.

Azimeraw kept pushing hard over the following kilometres, possibly fearful of Jebitok’s finish, but she finally managed to leave the Kenyan behind just before the eighth kilometre at the beginning of the hardest section of the race.

Azimeraw’s cadence dropped significantly in the closing kilometres, missing her chance of breaking 30 minutes, but she still won comfortably in 30:26. Jebitok, recent winner at the Venta de Baños cross country meeting, was second in 30:44 in what was her first ever road race. Further back, the experienced Salpeter finished third in 31:14.

In contrast to the women’s race, the opening downhill kilometre in the men’s contest was covered in a relatively modest 2:46. It soon became clear that Burundi’s Rodrigue Kwizera, the current leader in the World Athletics Cross Country Tour, had no plans to be a front-runner. Instead, Spanish sub-2:09 marathon runners Daniel Mateo and Yago Rojo were the early leaders.

The lead pack continued at a steady 2:45/2:46 kilometre pace to reach 3km in 8:17 and halfway in 13:46. By then the lead group was still large and led by 40-year-old Spaniard Ayad Lamdassem.

Katir progressively moved to the front and shortly after the seventh kilometre (19:17) made a first serious attack which could be matched only by Kwizera while Kenya’s Shadrack Koech and Spain’s Nassim Hassaous began their own battle for third place.

Once at the uphill section of the race, Katir took command and gradually opened up a gap over Kwizera. By the time Katir crossed the line in 27:45, he had built a 10-second advantage over Kwizera, who in turn was 10 seconds ahead of Hassaous.

“It’s great to win such a prestigious race but I’m not at my peak yet,” said Katir, the Spanish record-holder at 1500m, 3000m and 5000m. “I’m now loading mileage and hope to be in top form in February when I would like to take part in several World Indoor Tour meets.”

 

(01/02/2022) Views: 539 ⚡AMP
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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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Kwizera and Mohamed Katir, duel at the summit in the San Silvestre Vallecana International

The Burundian athlete Rodrigue Kwizera, dominator in the cross season, starts as a favorite against Mohamed Katir, who leads the Spanish representation with Ayad Lamdassem, Dani Mateo, Yago Rojo and Abdessamad Oukhelfen in the Nationale-Nederlanden San Silvestre Vallecana Internacional, which will be dispute this December 31 in the ‘heart’ of Madrid.

La San Silvestre is reunited with its traditional layout and Rodrigue Kwizera’s favorite poster. The athlete from Burundi arrives in Madrid after having shone in the national cross season, with victories in Itálica, Soria, Venta de Baños, Alcobendas and Lasarte, and a second place in Atapuerca.

With a performance that is very reminiscent of Jacob Kiplimo when he pulverized the Nationale-Nederlanden San Silvestre Vallecana record, the 26 minutes and 41 seconds of the Ugandan could be at risk this year if Kwizera brings out all that class that they have shown in this winter season.

The competition that you will find on the asphalt will contribute to this. And it is that Shadrack Koech and Abel Sikowo, already confirmed for the race as representatives of the NN Running Team, are joined by the very young 19-year-old Kenyan Emmanuel Kiplagat, who has 28 minutes and 28 seconds as the best mark in 10,000 meters in the open air, and the great star of national athletics today, Mohamed Katir.

In a dreamy summer, the Murcian of Moroccan origin broke three national records that seemed eternal – 1,500, 3,000 and 5,000 meters -, achieved two victories in the Diamond League against the best in the world, and was an Olympic diploma in 5,000 meters at the Games Tokyo 2020.

With ambition and courage as the flag, Katir will seek to climb to the top of the podium at the Vallecas Stadium, a victory that would be historic, because a Spaniard has not won since Chema Martínez was crowned in the 2003 edition.

Along with Katir, the Nationale-Nederlanden San Silvestre Vallecana will have the best Spanish athletes of the moment. Ayad Lamdassem knows what it is like to be very close to victory in the Vallecana. The national marathon record holder -2: 06: 35- and fifth at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, has been second three times in Vallecas and will seek to approach the positions of honor. Of course, his personal best is very far in time, 28:09 in 2010.

Dani Mateo shattered this year the national record of the hour of a mythical, Mariano Haro. After his Olympic experience in Japan, the marathoner from Soria will seek to overcome his best position in the race, a ninth place, and try to go down for the first time in his career of 29 minutes in 10K (29:07 as a personal best).

For his part, Yago Rojo has dropped this year from 2 hours and 9 minutes in the marathon, which confirms him as one of the young talents of the distance. In the Vallecana he has already been tenth, in 2018, with a personal best time of 28:48.

The Spanish army is completed by Abdessamad Oukhelfen, current national cross champion and who has just been twelfth in the European cross country in Ireland, confirming the progression of this 23-year-old talent; the canary by birth Nassim Hassaous, the best of the Spaniards in the 2021 European Cross Country, with a seventh place; Ignacio Fontes, Olympic finalist in 1,500 meters in Tokyo 2020; Jesús Ramos, runner-up in Spain in 10,000 meters and with a personal best of 27:49; or Jesús Gómez, double European runner-up of 1,500 meters on the indoor track in 2019 and 2021, among others.

(12/29/2021) Views: 498 ⚡AMP
by George Williams
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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...

more...
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Norah Jeruto and Rodrigue Kwizera triumph at Cross de Italica

Kenya’s Norah Jeruto and Burundi’s Rodrigue Kwizera secured victories at the Cross Internacional de Itálica on the outskirts of Seville in what was the fifth World Athletics Cross Country Tour Gold meeting of the season, held (21) on a cloudy but dry day.

Right from the start of the women’s 7.9km contest, Jeruto took command of the race and led a quartet that included compatriot Beatrice Chebet, Ethiopia’s 5km world record-holder Senbere Teferi and recent Atapuerca winner Rahel Daniel. Margaret Chelimo, the defending Cross de Italica champion and world 5000m silver medallist, was a few seconds adrift of the leaders within the first few kilometres.

While Jeruto and Chebet took charge of the pacing duties, Teferi and Daniel ran at the back of the lead pack. Just before the halfway point, Chelimo made contact with the lead group and moved to the front alongside Chebet and Jeruto. Daniel, meanwhile, began to lose contact after the fourth kilometre as the race became a duel between the Kenyan trio and Teferi.

Half way through the final circuit, Teferi couldn’t live with the pace being set by Chelimo and Jeruto. Chebet lost ground on her compatriots in the final kilometre, leaving Jeruto and Chelimo to battle for victory.

It briefly seemed as though the long-legged Chelimo would reel in the long-time leader, but Jeruto, who this year clocked a world-leading 8:53.65 in the steeplechase to move to third on the world all-time list, found an extra gear in the home straight to win marginally ahead of Chelimo, herself two seconds clear of Chebet.

The men’s 10.1km event began at a moderate pace, set by the Spanish duo of Carlos Mayo, a 27:25.00 10,000m performer, and the 40-year-old Ayad Lamdassem, a creditable fifth at the Tokyo Olympics in the marathon. Shortly before the third kilometre, world U20 3000m champion Tadese Worku moved to the front to whittle down the leading group to six other men: fellow Ethiopian Nibret Melak, Uganda’s Thomas Ayeko, Eritrea’s Aron Kifle, Kwizera, Mayo and Abdessadam Oukhelfen.

The first significant move came some 15 minutes into the race when Kifle, the winner in Atapuerca last weekend, put in a surge to leave Ayeko and the Spaniards behind within a matter of seconds. Kifle and Worku then took turns at the front with Melak and Kwizera tucked behind.

Throughout the closing loop, Worku tried to shake off Melak, Kwizera and Kifle, but Kwizera was able to stick to the teenager’s relentless pace. After negotiating the tricky final bend, Kwizera overtook Worku with relative ease to take the biggest win of his career so far in 28:33, one second ahead of the defending champion Worku, while Melak secured third spot in 28:42, seven seconds clear of Kifle.

“Winning the Itálica permit is incredible for me,” said 22-year-old Kwizera, who finished 11th at the 2019 World Cross Country Championships. “I’m doing very well this cross country season and hope to maintain this. I feel very comfortable in cross country races but I also would like to improve my career bests on the track (13:34.65 for 5000m and 28:21.92 for 10,000m).”

(11/22/2021) Views: 604 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Cross internacional de Italica

Cross internacional de Italica

The Cross Internacional de Itálica is an annual cross country running competition it will be held on 21st of November in Santiponce, near Seville, Spain. Inaugurated in 1982, the race course is set in the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Italica. As one of only two Spanish competitions to hold IAAF permit meeting status, it is one of...

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Top fields gather for Cross Internacional de Italica

The Cross Internacional de Italica in Santiponce on the outskirts of the Spanish city of Seville – the fifth Gold standard meeting in the current World Athletics Cross Country Tour – always boasts a mouth-watering line-up, and this year’s race on Sunday (21) is no exception.

The men’s 10,092m contest features one of the most promising distance runners, Ethiopia’s Tadese Worku, who was the last victor here in January 2020. The 19-year-old is the current world U20 cross country and 3000m champion, has recently shown impressive form with a 26:56 clocking at a 10km road race in Herzogenaurach and should be tipped as one of the favourites. He will be joined by his fellow Ethiopian Nibret Melak, a 12:54.22 5000m performer this year.

They will face stiff opposition from the whole Atapuerca podium, as Eritrea’s Aron Kifle, Burundi’s Rodrigue Kwizera and Uganda’s Joel Ayeko will also be in contention. The latter’s compatriot Thomas Ayeko, Burundi’s Thierry Ndikumwenayo and Eritrea’s Yemane Hailesilassie should also rank in the top 10 on Sunday.

Spanish hopes rest on the European U23 cross country bronze medallist Abdessamad Oukhelfen. The 22-year-old has proven to be in fine form at this early stage of the season, with third and fifth-place finishes in San Sebastian and Atapuerca respectively. Watch out too for Carlos Mayo, who also made the top 10 in Atapuerca and will be aiming to match that feat here.

Eritrea’s Rahel Daniel Ghebreneyohannes managed an upset victory in Atapuerca last weekend, defeating a mighty Kenyan armada featuring Beatrice Chebet, Margaret Chelimo and Norah Jeruto who were second, third and fourth-place finishers respectively there following a tight and intriguing finish. The four of them will clash again over 7910m on Sunday and the battle for the win promises to be epic.

Reportedly, the unheralded Eritrean competed in Atapuerca wearing two right shoes, but despite that disadvantage she got the better of a world-class line-up and will be eager to prove her victory was no fluke.

Daniel’s top performance is a 14:55.56 5000m clocking from Hengelo last June, but she couldn’t advance to the final at the Tokyo Olympics. Meanwhile, the Kenyan triumvirate holds impressive backgrounds. While Chelimo is the reigning world 5000m silver medallist and defends her victory in Santiponce last year, Jeruto boasts the third fastest ever time in the 3000m steeplechase thanks to a 8:53.65 performance. As for Chebet, the 2018 world U20 5000m champion was runner-up behind Chelimo in 2020 and narrowly beat Chelimo and Jeruto in Atapuerca.

Another Kenyan, Eva Cherono, was eighth at the 2019 World Cross Country Championships and will make her second outing this autumn after a winning 19:17 clocking over four miles in Groningen last month.

To add more quality to Sunday’s field, organisers also announced the late addition of Ethiopia’s Senbere Teferi. The 26-year-old came sixth at the Tokyo Olympics over 5000m and bettered her lifetime best for the distance to an impressive 14:15.24 this season. Teferi will be aiming to regain her 2017 win here and seems ready to do so after her 14:29 overwhelming victory and outright women's world 5km record of 14:29 in Herzogenaurach in September.

The most remarkable Europeans on show will be Turkey’s Yasemin Can and Italy’s Nadia Battocletti; the former having claimed four consecutive European cross country titles and the latter having finished just outside the top 10 in Atapuerca.

Previous winners in Santiponce include Kenenisa Bekele (2003, 2004 and 2007), Fernando Mamede (1984 and 1985), Paul Kipkoech (1987 and 1988), Paul Tergat (1998 and 1999), Moses Kipsiro (2008 and 2009), Leonard Komon (2010 and 2011), Linet Masai (2010 and 2012) and Paula Radcliffe (2001), among others.

Weather forecasters predict a rainy day and a temperature of 18ºC by the time of the event.

(11/21/2021) Views: 452 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Top fields gather for Cross Internacional de Italica

The Cross Internacional de Italica in Santiponce on the outskirts of the Spanish city of Seville – the fifth Gold standard meeting in the current World Athletics Cross Country Tour – always boasts a mouth-watering line-up, and this year’s race on Sunday (21) is no exception.

The men’s 10,092m contest features one of the most promising distance runners, Ethiopia’s Tadese Worku, who was the last victor here in January 2020. The 19-year-old is the current world U20 cross country and 3000m champion, has recently shown impressive form with a 26:56 clocking at a 10km road race in Herzogenaurach and should be tipped as one of the favorites. He will be joined by his fellow Ethiopian Nibret Melak, a 12:54.22 5000m performer this year.

They will face stiff opposition from the whole Atapuerca podium, as Eritrea’s Aron Kifle, Burundi’s Rodrigue Kwizera and Uganda’s Joel Ayeko will also be in contention. The latter’s compatriot Thomas Ayeko, Burundi’s Thierry Ndikumwenayo and Eritrea’s Yemane Hailesilassie should also rank in the top 10 on Sunday.

Spanish hopes rest on the European U23 cross country bronze medalist Abdessamad Oukhelfen. The 22-year-old has proven to be in fine form at this early stage of the season, with third and fifth-place finishes in San Sebastian and Atapuerca respectively. Watch out too for Carlos Mayo, who also made the top 10 in Atapuerca and will be aiming to match that feat here.

Eritrea’s Rahel Daniel Ghebreneyohannes managed an upset victory in Atapuerca last weekend, defeating a mighty Kenyan armada featuring Beatrice Chebet, Margaret Chelimo and Norah Jeruto who were second, third and fourth-place finishers respectively there following a tight and intriguing finish. The four of them will clash again over 7910m on Sunday and the battle for the win promises to be epic.

Reportedly, the unheralded Eritrean competed in Atapuerca wearing two right shoes, but despite that disadvantage she got the better of a world-class line-up and will be eager to prove her victory was no fluke.

Daniel’s top performance is a 14:55.56 5000m clocking from Hengelo last June, but she couldn’t advance to the final at the Tokyo Olympics. Meanwhile, the Kenyan triumvirate holds impressive backgrounds. While Chelimo is the reigning world 5000m silver medalist and defends her victory in Santiponce last year, Jeruto boasts the third fastest ever time in the 3000m steeplechase thanks to a 8:53.65 performance. As for Chebet, the 2018 world U20 5000m champion was runner-up behind Chelimo in 2020 and narrowly beat Chelimo and Jeruto in Atapuerca.

Another Kenyan, Eva Cherono, was eighth at the 2019 World Cross Country Championships and will make her second outing this autumn after a winning 19:17 clocking over four miles in Groningen last month.

To add more quality to Sunday’s field, organisers also announced the late addition of Ethiopia’s Senbere Teferi. The 26-year-old came sixth at the Tokyo Olympics over 5000m and bettered her lifetime best for the distance to an impressive 14:15.24 this season. Teferi will be aiming to regain her 2017 win here and seems ready to do so after her 14:29 overwhelming victory and outright women's world 5km record of 14:29 in Herzogenaurach in September.

The most remarkable Europeans on show will be Turkey’s Yasemin Can and Italy’s Nadia Battocletti; the former having claimed four consecutive European cross country titles and the latter having finished just outside the top 10 in Atapuerca.

Previous winners in Santiponce include Kenenisa Bekele (2003, 2004 and 2007), Fernando Mamede (1984 and 1985), Paul Kipkoech (1987 and 1988), Paul Tergat (1998 and 1999), Moses Kipsiro (2008 and 2009), Leonard Komon (2010 and 2011), Linet Masai (2010 and 2012) and Paula Radcliffe (2001), among others.

Weather forecasters predict a rainy day and a temperature of 18ºC by the time of the event.

(11/19/2021) Views: 646 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Cross internacional de Italica

Cross internacional de Italica

The Cross Internacional de Itálica is an annual cross country running competition it will be held on 21st of November in Santiponce, near Seville, Spain. Inaugurated in 1982, the race course is set in the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Italica. As one of only two Spanish competitions to hold IAAF permit meeting status, it is one of...

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