09 JAN 1998 General News

Moiben aims for second World Cross Challenge victory in Amorebieta

Moiben aims for second World Cross Challenge victory in Amorebieta

Following a resounding victory in Brussels on 21 December, where he finished five seconds ahead of fellow Kenyan Thomas Nyariki, the relatively unknown James Moiben will be aiming for his second victory in the third leg of the IAAF World Cross Challenge '98, which will take place in Amorebieta on Sunday, 11 January. In the absence of any other of the current leaders, a win in the Amorebieta race, the "XXXVIII Cross Zornotza Internacional", would place 20 year old Moiben at the head of the standings for the current Challenge. At the moment, Nyariki leads the standings with 41 points, after his second place in Brussels and a third place in last Saturday's 10th Durham International Cross, followed by Yann Millon (FRA) with 32 points and Keith Cullen (GBR) 28 points, all after 2 events. Equal fourth place is held by Britain's Jon Brown (from his win in Durham) and Moiben, both with 25 points from their respective wins.
One of the strongest challengers for Moiben will be the current 3000m steeplechase world record holder Bernard Barmasai (KEN). Barmasai has has two victories off the IAAF circuit this season, with wins in the Bolzano San Silvestro race on 31 December 1997 and in the Campaccio (Milan, Italy) on 6 January, where he finished ahead of both Nyariki and Brown and of Paul Kosgei (KEN), who is trailing Moiben by six points in the World Cross Challenge Standings. Both Barmasai and Moiben look to be on great form and should be evenly matched over the Amorebieta course. Another opponent worthy of note will be Paul Koech (KEN). Like Barmasai, this third leg will be his first appearance in the Challenge this season, but his fourth place in last year's world championships in Turin make him a contender to be watched.
The women's race is likely to be a battle between the experienced Julia Vaquero of Spain, who will certainly not be disadvantaged by the strong support she will receive from her compatriots, and Gete Wami of Ethiopia - with Kenya's Sally Barsosio a strong possible if she can regain some of the form she displayed last year. In her two outings so far this season in the Challenge, she has amassed 27 points with 7th and 8th places in, respectively, Brussels and Durham. This puts her two points ahead of Wami, who has 25 points from her 21 December win in Brussels. Vaquero is currently 18 in the standings for the World Cross Challenge with 10 points from her eleventh place in Brussels. Also in the running in Amorebieta will be Zohra Ouaziz (MAR). After a couple of years virtual absence from the cross country circuit, she made a creditable fourth place in Durham and is currently joint eleventh in the Challenge standings. Wami will be backed up in Amorebieta by her compatriots Marima Denboba - placed in the top ten in the past three editions of the world cross country championships and fourth in Brussels giving her joint eleventh place in the standings with Ouaziz- and Berhan Adhere, who will be competing in her first Challenge event of the year, but has shown good form in the other events she has run in so far this season, with two wins and two second places in five events.