30 NOV 2012 General News Bolzano, Italy

Merga and Kibet to headline Bolzano New Year's Eve race

Imane Merga of Ethiopia crosses the finish line to win the men's senior race in Punta Umbria (Getty Images)Imane Merga of Ethiopia crosses the finish line to win the men's senior race in Punta Umbria (Getty Images) © Copyright

30 November 2012 - Bolzano, Italy - World Cross Country champion Imane Merga from Ethopia and Kenyan Sylvia Kibet, the reigning World 5000m silver medallist, will headlong the 38th edition of the BOClassic in Bozen/Bolzano on New Year's Eve.

With 15,000 spectators lining the city's streets, crackling suspense and top class runners, the BOclassic is considered to be the best cast New Year's Eve runs in the  world.

In 1975, this city in Italy's north Sudtirol took the New Year's Eve Run of Sao Paolo, Brazil, as an example and its own run was born. The national broadcasting company Rai Sport again broadcasts the run live.

"Throughout Europe the (economic) crisis is noticeable; runs are cancelled. Nevertheless, we were able to bring some top-class runners to Bozen/Bolzano," said athletic manager Gianni Demadonna.

Merga, who also raced to World Championships bronze over 10,000m in 2011, defeated Mo Farah in a thrilling finish here in 2010. Kibet, who also took World championships 5000m silver in 2009, won here in 2007 and finished third in 2008.

Another star is the South Tyrolean Silvia Weissteiner. The Italian, who was seventh in the 5000m at the 2009 World Championships, finished third in Bozen/Bolzano in 2006 and 2011.

Organisers for the IAAF