05 DEC 2002 General News 5 December 2002 – Brussels, Belgium

World’s best target Brussels cross

Bekele running at the 2002 World Cross Country Championships (Getty Images)Bekele running at the 2002 World Cross Country Championships (Getty Images) © Copyright

Brussels, BelgiumThe "Lotto Iris Crosscup" the IAAF Cross Country Permit meeting which is annually held in the Belgium capital, and this year takes place on Sunday 22 December, has as usual attracted some of the best names on the international cross country running circuit.

Foremost among the star athletes who have entered is Ethiopia’s reigning double World Cross Country champion Kenenisa Bekele. The Ethiopian star on only his second competitive outing since returning from a persistent Achilles injury, won the first IAAF cross country meeting of the season in Oeiras over 9km on 17 November. The 20-year-old Bekele followed that victory up with an impressive record breaking 5km stage run for Ethiopia at the International Chiba Ekiden on 23 November.

Joining the top Ethiopian in Brussels will be Kenya’s own distance running luminary, Paul Kosgei, who won the World Half Marathon title in the spring, and Sergiy Lebid of Ukraine, the two times European champion and last year’s winner of the IAAF cross in Brussels.

Last year’s women’s winner Edith Masai, will also return to Brussels to defend her title. Masai, is also the reigning IAAF World Cross Country champion over the short course distance.