Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadesse was the overwhelming victor in the ‘18th Cross Internacional del Calzado Villa de Fuensalida’ held yesterday, Sunday 9 January.
The race was billed as a clash between Tadesse and Ukraine’s Sergiy Lebid but after a cautious start the reigning Olympic 10,000m bronze medallist proved to be the best by far and by halfway it became clear that barring disaster Tadesse would be the eventual winner.
When Tadesse stepped up the pace, the Eritrean was joined for two kilometres (3rd-5th) by Kenya’s 18-year-old Edwin Soi but he couldn’t manage to keep in touch with Tadesse for any further. The Kenyan paid for his early effort and was eventually overtaken by the five-time European champion Lebid in the final stages.
Tadesse’s winning margin was 12 seconds (33:29-33:41) over Lebid who finished 15 seconds ahead of a fading Soi. Morocco’s Abderrahim Goumri (5000m PB of 12:59.04) came fourth, 41 seconds adrift of the winner while European 3000m steeplechase champion Antonio Jiménez beat European cross country silver medallist Juan Carlos de la Ossa in a tight battle to be the first Spaniard home.
It was Tadesse’s first win over Lebid who had recently beaten the Madrid-based athlete twice (IAAF XC permit in Brussels on 19 Dec. and a 6km road race in Madeira last 28 Dec, when they came 1-2 with Lebid prevailing by two seconds).
Next Saturday in Edinburgh (15 Jan) Tadesse will have his toughest challenge of the winter so far since he will be facing some of the crème of cross country running. Understandably enenisa Bekele who has pulled out of the event due to his fiancée’s death last Tuesday.
Solo run by Burika
The women’s race witnessed an impressive display by Ethiopia’s Gelete Burika. From the gun the young Burika (she will turn 19 years of age on 15 February) took command of the race and left the others with no chance of winning.
Her compatriot Genete Getaneh was her closest rival in the first part of the race but she finally had to settle for fourth also overtaken by the Poruguese pair of Ines Monteiro, the runner-up, and Monica Rosa.
Burika, who also won in Brussels both Christmas won by the handsome margin of 13 seconds from Monteiro, who built a six-second advantage over Rosa with Getane in fourth 34 seconds behind Burika. European Cross Country silver medallist Justyna Bak of Poland had a below-par performance and came in a distant eighth.
Emeterio Valiente for the IAAF
1. Zersenay Tadesse (Eri) 33:29
2. Sergiy Lebid (Ukr) 33:41
3. Edwin Soi (Ken) 33:56
4. Abderrahim Goumri (Mor) 34:10
5. Antonio Jiménez (Esp) 34:15
6. Juan Carlos de la Ossa (Esp) 34:20
7. Said El Wardi (Mor) 34:39
8. Helder Ornelas (Por) 34:50
9. Karl Keska (Gbr) 34:50
10. Iván Galán (Esp) 34:02
1. Gelete Burika (Eth) 22:50
2. Inés Monteiro (Por) 23:03
3. Monica Rosa (Por) 23:09
4. Genete Getaneh (Eth) 23:24
5. Mieke Geens (Bel) 23:37
6. Jacqueline Martín (Esp) 23:41
7. Patrizia Tisi (Ita) 23:41
8. Justyna Bak (Pol) 23:46
9. Alessandra Aguilar (Esp) 24.07
10. Eyerusalem Kuma (Eth) 24:46