08 MAR 1998 General News

Tergat in a class of his own in the Cinque Mulini - Convincing win for Denboba

Tergat in a class of his own in the Cinque Mulini - Convincing win for Denboba in women's race
8 March 1998 - Three time world cross country champion and 10,000m world record holder, Kenya's Paul Tergat left no doubts in anyone's mind that he is in world beating form here in San Vittore Olona (Italy) today.

The start of the race was already an indication of Tergat's confidence: he started in the middle of the field and let the leaders make the running as he loped along as though he was on a warm-up run. Ireland's Seamus Power was the first to set the pace under the baking sun here in Northern Italy, but halfway through the race the pressure from the African contingent was too much.

Hendrik Ramaala (RSA) took over the lead of a pack which gradually dwindled to five runners: Ramaala, Mark Bett (KEN), Tergat, Abel Chimukoko (ZIM) and Dereje Tadesse (ETH). As the race neared the end of the penultimate lap, Tergat broke away from the pack and trailed by Ramala and Bett kicked out for the finish - one lap too early! He crossed the finish line, obviously a little concerned that there was no tape and then took off again as the crowd shouted to him "Corri Paul": (run Paul). From then on it was a one man race, with Tergat maintaining his lead over Ramaala and Bett. His victory now places him at the head of the IAAF World Cross Standings, ahead of fellow Kenyan Thomas Nyariki, with Abel Chimukoko moving into third place.

After the race he confessed that he had lost count of the laps.

Tergat is flying back to Kenya this evening for training prior to the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Marrakech, where he is looking forward to a chance to win his fourth world champion's title.

24 year old Ethiopian, Merima Denboba, celebrated "Women's Day" in style with a convincing victory today in the last event on the IAAF World Cross Challenge calendar.

Denboba covered the 5km course around the famous mills of San Vittore Olona in 17 minutes 29 seconds. In the last part of the race Denboba duelled with her compatriot, Birhare Adere, but Denboba sprinted away in the final metres. Third was Kenyan Lornah Kiplagat, who usually races on the roads; Kiplagat outsprinted the young Swiss, Anita Weyerman, who ran out of steam in the final stage of the race after having led most of the way.

Denboba now has her sights set on the forthcoming IAAF World Cross Country, and is returning to Ethiopia tomorrow to train at altitude with the rest of her team in a pre-World Championships camp. The Ethiopians are looking to repeat their team victory over Kenya in Turin at last year's IAAF World Cross Country Championships, in Marrakech.

Today's victory took Denboba to the top of the Challenge rankings with 83 points.

Rendezvous in Marrakech 21-22 March 1998.