Kenyan triple in Italica: Tergat back on world-beating form
Sunday, 18 January 1998. After a disappointing seventh place
in Brussels in his first race in the IAAF World Cross Challenge
1998, triple world cross country champion and 10,000m world
record holder Paul Tergat (KEN) showed the 8,000 crowd in Seville
that he was back on world beating form today as he won the XVI
edition of the Cross Internacional de Italica.
Most of the ten kilometre race had been a duel between Tergat and his compatriot Bernard Barmasai, but Tergat prevailed in the final sprint to cross the line a second ahead of 3000m steeplechase world record holder Barmasai and 23 seconds ahead of fellow Kenyan Paul Kosgei. The three runners had broken away from the pack three laps before the finish, but Kosgei was unable to keep up the steaming pace set by Tergat and Barmasai. South Africa's Hendrick Ramaala narrowly took fourth place, a second ahead of Belgian Mohammed Mourhit. For the first time in three years, the race was run on a dry course. The previous two editions had been dogged by bad weather and heavy going and the fine conditions this year made for particularly fast times. Tergat covered the ten kilometre course overlooking the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Italica in 27:57, just 1:30 outside his world record time on the track in Brussels last year, and looked all set to go for his fourth succesive victory in the World Cross Country Championships which will take place in Marrakech 21-22 March.
In the World Cross Challenge standings after four events (with seven to go before Marrakech), Paul Kosgei moved into the lead with 53 points from three appearances, seven points ahead of Hendrick Ramaala, while previous leader Yann Millon (FRA) dropped back to third place, ahead of Thomas Nyariki and James Moiben of Kenya who are now in joint fourth place. Tergat's win today placed him sixth in the rankings with 39 points.