26 November 2012 - Eritrea’s 2010 World Cross Country silver medallist Teklemariam Medhin captured a convincing 15-second victory in the 31st ‘Cross Internacional de la Constitución’ on Sunday (25) on a mostly cloudy but reasonably warm day (14 º C) day in the outskirts of Madrid.
MedhIn took the better of Spain’s current European Cross Country silver medallist Ayad Lamdassem to grab his first victory this Cross Country season after being fourth at the Atapuerca permit earlier this month. In addition, the Eritrean ace finally made the highest step on the podium in Alcobendas after his runner-up places in 2009 and 2010.
The women’s race witnessed another Eritrean success signed by Nazret Weldu who beat Spain’s Diana Martín as she had done in Soria last Sunday.
Men’s race: Fully recovered Medhin in a class of his own
The men’s 9500m event saw the early lead of Spain’s twin brothers Alberto and Álvaro Lozano marginally ahead of the Eritrean pair of Medhin and Amanuel Mesel, fresh from a fine runner-up outing in Soria last weekend. Medhin first moved to the front some 11 minutes into the race and soon opened some distance on Mesel and Alberto Lozano, who lost two and four seconds respectively to Medhin with two laps to go.
Halfway through the penultimate 3000-metre circuit Medhin led by a handsome margin of 13 seconds on Mesel, who ran three seconds ahead of the Spanish trio of Lamdassem, Lozano and the reigning National champion Carlos Castillejo, fresh from a win at the ‘Jean Bouin’ 10km road race held in Barcelona last Sunday.
By the bell (7:28 lap for Medhin for the previous one of 7:25) attention turned to the minor places on the podium as Lamdassem was a lonesome second 16 seconds in arrears but a couple of seconds clear of Castillejo and Lozano while a fading Mesel had also been overtaken by Kenya’s current Olympic 3000m Steeplechase bronze medallist Abel Mutai.
The closing circuit offered Medhin’s magnificent display while Lamdassem secured his runner-up position and the 25-year-old Lozano managed to get rid of Castillejo and Mutai, who had joined them in the early stages of the lap. A comfortable 7:38 final lap for Medhin proved to be enough to keep his rivals at bay as he broke the tape unopposed in 28:23 for Lamdassem’s 28:38 while Lozano signed his best ever performance to complete the podium 20 seconds behind Medhin.
The joyful 23-year-old Spanish-based star declared: “I’m satisfied since it’s only my second appearance this Cross Country season as I fractured my quadriceps in the Olympic 10,000m final where I came 7th. That injury prevented me from contesting the 5000m in London as I had originally scheduled and also the Lisbon Half Marathon in late September. I only resumed full training in October.”
Asked on his short-term plans, the long-legged Eritrean said, “I fly back to Eritrea on Tuesday for a high-altitude training stint. I’ll probably come back for a New Year’s eve race but it’s not for sure yet. My primary goal this winter is the IAAF World Cross Country championships in Bydgoszcz but I’ll definitely prepare for road events (Half Marathon and Marathon) after the Moscow Worlds.”
It’s worth mentioning the eighth place managed by the evergreen (41-year-old) former (2002) European 10,000m champion Chema Martínez of Spain, who is also the current European Marathon silver medallist from Barcelona 2010.
Women’s race: Weldu denies Martín revenge
The women’s 7.6km race kicked off with the early lead of the eventual winner Nazret Weldu while the Spanish pair of Diana Martín and Alessandra Aguilar ran 20m behind.
With 7:30 on the clock, Martín and her training mate Aguilar caught the Eritrean and the trio travelled together for virtually the rest of the race. It was the steeplechaser Martín who made most of the pacing duties but Weldu and Aguilar ran at her shoulder throughout. The local crowd dreamt of a Martín revenge on Weldu but the 22-year-old had very different plans and unleashed a powerful change of speed midway through the closing kilometre to leave the Spaniards without any winning chances.
At the tape Weldu had nine seconds to spare while Martín pulled away easily from the 34-year-old marathoner Aguilar (2:26:58 PB) in the home battle for second.
Helped by his coach Jerónimo Bravo, the Spanish-based Weldu said: “I’m a middle distance runner, actually the longest event I have ever contested on the track is the 3000m but my coach plans to tackle longer distances and so these Cross Country races are really useful for me. I’ll return to Eritrea in early January to get ready for the national championships where I would like to make the Eritrean team for the World Cross Country Championships.”
Emeterio Valiente for the IAAF
MEN (9500m) -
1. Teklemariam Medhin (Eritrea) 28:23
2. Ayad Lamdassem (Spain) 28:38
3. Alberto Lozano (Spain) 28:43
4. Abel Mutai (Kenya) 28:49
5. Carlos Castillejo (Spain) 28:51
6. Antonio Jiménez (Spain) 28:54
7. Amanuel Mesel (Eritrea) 29:11
8. Chema Martínez (Spain) 29:19
9. Javier Díaz (Spain) 29:26
10.Álvaro Lozano (Spain) 29:35
WOMEN (7600m) -
1. Nazret Weldu (Eritrea) 26:30
2. Diana Martín (Spain) 26:39
3. Alessandra Aguilar (Spain) 26:45
4. Marta Silvestre (Spain) 27:02
5. Lidia Rodríguez (Spain) 27:06
6. Irene Pelayo (Spain) 27:44
7. María Luisa Casanueva (Spain) 27:51
8. Elena García (Spain) 27:52
9. Gema Barrachina (Spain) 27:5210.Cristina Jordán (Spain) 27:56