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Worku and Yavi are in the spotlight at the Cinque Mulini cross country in Italy

Ethiopian teenager Tadese Worku and defending champion Winfred Mutile Yavi from Bahrain will be in the spotlight at the 88th edition of the Cinque Mulini in San Vittore Olona, Italy, the seventh leg of this season’s World Athletics Cross Country Permit, on Sunday (26).

The 2020 edition of the famous Italian cross country race will be highlighted by a battle between the new wave of African stars, duded “Generation Z” by race organisers, and the best Italian middle distance runners.

Three of the top four finishers in the U20 race at last year’s World Cross Country Championships - Worku, Oscar Chelimo from Uganda and Leonard Kipkemboi Bett from Kenya - will line-up in the men’s race.

Worku, who turned 18 on 20 January, won the U20 silver medal in Aarhus last March. He has been one of most consistent cross country runners this season with back-to-back wins in the World Athletics Cross Country Permit meetings in Elgoibar and Seville. Worku also won the Giro di Castelbuono road race last July, finished third at the Giro al Sas in Trento and set career best times of 7:43.24 in the 3000m and 13:18.17 in the 5000m.

Chelimo, the younger brother of 2018 Cinque Mulini winner Jacob Kiplimo, won bronze in the same Arhus race and took bronze in the 3000m at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. The 18-year-old Ugandan clocked 7:44.82 in the 3000m and 13:20.10 in the 5000m.

Bett won the world U20 steeplechase title in 2018 and went on to finish fourth in the U20 race in Aarhus. He set his 3000m steeplechase lifetime best of 8:08.61 in Doha last May.

Burundi’s Thierry Ndikumwenayo will fight for another top-three placing after winning in Alcobendas on 24 November and finishing second in Soria one week earlier. The 22-year-old trains with Italy’s Yemaneberhan Crippa under the guidance of Italian coach Massimo Pegoretti.

Morocco’s 1500m specialist Abdelati Iguider will test his shape over a longer distance with the aim to continue the proud Moroccan tradition in San Vittore Olona, which started with the wins of Khalid Skah in 1991 and Salah Hissou in 1999 and the runner-up finish by Soufian El Bakkali in 2017. Iguider won the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London and at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing.

Another interesting entrant is Kenya’s Jackson Muema, who won the cross country race at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

Crippa will carry Italian hopes for a top-three placing after finishing fourth for the second consecutive year at the Campaccio Cross Country race on 6 January. During a successful 2019 season Crippa finished eighth in the 10,000m at the World Championships clocking 27:10.76 to break the national record. Last December he won European Cross Country bronze after winning the U20 race in 2014 and 2015 and finishing third in the U23 race in 2016 and 2017. Crippa trained for three weeks in Monte Gordo in Portugal in preparation for the Cinque Mulini and will be aiming to become the first Italian to reach the podium since Stefano Baldini in 2005.

The Italian line-up is completed by Yohanes Chiappinelli, the European 3000m steeplechase bronze medallist in 2018, Cesare Maestri, silver medallist at the 2019 World Mountain Running Championships and winner at last week’s Vallagarina Cross Country race in Rovereto, and Italian 5000m champion Marouan Razine, who finished sixth at the Campaccio this year.

Yavi targetting successful defence

Yavi will return to San Vittore Olona to defend the title she won last year in snowy conditions. The 20-year-old went on to finish fourth in the 3000m steeplechase at the World Championships after improving her lifetime best to 9:10.74 in Monaco.

Kenyan hopes will be carried by Mercy Cherono, world silver medallist in the 5000m in Moscow 2013, and Gloria Kite, who finished third in the 2019 Cinque Mulini and in the 2020 Campaccio and set her 3000m PB with 8:29.91 in Doha last May.

The women’s race will be also highlighted by 20-year-old Kenyan Jackline Jerono, who won two recent cross country races in Allonnes and Le Mans, France, and Jasmijn Bakker from the Netherlands, who was fourth in the U23 race at last month’s European Championships.  

Rising Italian middle distance star Nadia Battocletti will aim to continue her successful season after claiming her second European Cross Country U20 title and finishing sixth at the Campaccio. The daughter of former distance runner Giuliano Battocletti won the European U20 silver medal in the 5000m last year.

Other Italian runners in the field are world U20 mountain running champion Angela Mattevi and Valeria Roffino, who finished 11th at the European Cross Country Championships.

(01/25/2020) Views: 333 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Ethiopia’s Tadese Worku and Kenya’s Hellen Obiri will be the favorites athletes at the Cross Internacional de Itálica in Santiponce on Sunday

Ethiopia’s Tadese Worku and Kenya’s Hellen Obiri will be the marquee athletes at the ‘Cross Internacional de Itálica’ in Santiponce on the outskirts of Seville on Sunday, the sixth leg of the 2019/20 World Athletics Cross Country Permit series.

The event promises to be a rematch of last Sunday’s races in Elgoibar as both podiums will be on show again.

Will Worku confirm breakthrough?

Turning 18 the day after the race, the young Ethiopian will be happy to celebrate his birthday one day in advance with a victory to confirm his overwhelming win last weekend was no fluke. The reigning world U-20 cross country silver medalist proved to be in stellar form last Sunday and should be tipped as the main favorite in the 10km event.

One of his stiffest opponents should be Burundi’s Thierry Ndikumwenayo, the 22-year-old who will be making his sixth appearance on Spanish soil this cross country campaign. He’s produced three wins -- in Alcobendas (Nov 24), Aranda de Duero ( Dec 1) and Cantimpalos (Dec 8) -- plus a runner-up finish in Soria ( Nov 17). The Italy-based runner, who was ninth at the World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus last year, only finished outside the top-five in Atapuerca (Nov 9) where he finished sixth.

Kenya’s Richard Yator and Aron Kifle, runner-up and third respectively in Elgoibar should also be in contention. The Kenyan was 13th in Aarhus while Kifle has changed his base from Madrid to Nijmegen after joining the Global Sports agency. He will be joined by fellow Eritrean Yemane Haileselassie, an 8:11.22 3000m steeplechase specialist who reached the Rio Olympics final.

Watch out too for USA’s Paul Chelimo and Shadrack Kipchirchir. The former is the reigning Olympic 5000m silver medalist and is fresh from a fourth place in Elgoibar while Kipchirchir came tenth at the Doha worlds over 10,000m and holds a PB of 27:07.55 set in 2017.

Obiri the woman to beat

The women’s cast is headed by the reigning world cross country champion Hellen Obiri. The 30-year-old Kenyan kicked-off her winter campaign successfully in Elgoibar where, after running alongside compatriot Beatrice Chebet for most of the race, broke away from the reigning world U20 cross country on the last lap.

The 19-year-old Chebet should pose the main danger for Obiri, again alongside the reigning world 5000m silver medalist Margaret Kipkemboi Chelimo. The 26-year-old captured a surprise silver in Doha where she set a lifetime best of 14:27.49 and has shown fine form recently by winning a 5km road race in Bolzano on 31 December before taking second at the Campaccio cross country on January 6.

Trying to deny a Kenyan clean sweep over the 9135m contest will be Ethiopia’s Tsehay Gemechu, fourth at the Doha worlds over 5000m in a career best of 14:29.60. Barely two weeks later the 21-year-old set a 1:06:00 personal record for the half marathon in New Delhi. She’ll be racing her first race of the year on Sunday. Gemechu will be joined by fellow Ethiopian Tsige Abreha, the winner in Amorebieta. Kenya’s Eva Cherono, third in Elgoibar, and Bahrain’s World Championships marathon silver medalist Rose Chelimo will also be on show.

 

(01/17/2020) Views: 430 ⚡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 that is held every January 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 the more prestigious...

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