19 MAR 2000 General News

Belgian Mourhit upsets Tergat


Reuters

19 March 2000Moroccan-born Belgian Mohammed Mourhit ruined Kenyan Paul Tergat's dream of a unique six consecutive world cross country titles on Sunday with an upset win in the men's long course event.

Mourhit, a Belgian citizen since 1997, stayed with the leading Kenyans throughout the 12.3 km race and produced a sudden and unexpected sprint in the final straight to become the first non-Kenyan to win the event since Moroccan Khalid Skah nine years ago.

Assefa Mezgebu of Ethiopia added to the Kenyan misery by taking second place ahead of Tergat.

Mourhit, 29, represented his adopted country for the first time in the 1997 World Cross Country Championships where he finished fifth.

A back injury severely restricted his 1998 season but he returned the following year to take seventh place in the long course event.

"I feel very happy," said Mourhit who clocked an unofficial 35 minutes exactly. "It's my first world title."

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