18 JAN 1998 General News In a thrilling near photo

Maranga-Denboba stand-off in Seville's Italica International Cross

MarangaDenboba standoff in Seville's Italica International Cross

In a thrilling near photo-finish, Kenya's Jaqueline Maranga confirmed her domination of the women's IAAF World Cross Challenge here in Seville today as she crossed the line a split second in front of her greatest rival this season, Ethiopian Merima Denboba.
20 year old Maranga, who ran the fastest women's mile in the world in 97 (4:24.53 in Bellinzona on 18 August), just outkicked Denboba and a close pack in the final sprint to win the six kilometre race in 19:15. Denboba was also timed in 19:15, repeating the scenario in Amorebieta, where Marange shared the same time as Fidatov but was given the decision by the judges.
With only eight seconds separating the first six runners and just a second separating the first three, with Romania's Elena Fidatov right on Denboba's heels, this was the closest fought cross country we have seen so far this season.
With her fifth place in Durham her worst showing so far this season, Jaqueline Maranga, who now has an eight point lead over Merima Denboba in the standings with 66 to 58 points and is a full 20 points ahead of Zohra Ouaziz of Morocco in third place, has been the revelation of this season's IAAF world cross challenge.