Getaneh Molla at the 2016 Jan Meda International cross country (Leoul Tadesse) © Copyright
Report Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Molla and Alamirew take Jan Meda International cross country titles

Last year’s All African Games 5000m champion Getaneh Molla and rising talent Enatnesh Alamirew were the winners of the senior races at the 33rd Jan Meda International cross country races on Sunday (31), which served as the Ethiopian trials for the 2016 African Cross Country Championships in Yaounde, Cameroon, on 12 March.

In the senior men’s 12km race, there were still six runners together at the front at the bell, at the end of the fifth lap. In the last kilometre, three athletes - Molla, Brhan Nebebew and Gebre Erkyehun remained in contention before Molla kicked away from his rivals in the last two hundred metres and won the race in 35፡37 as Nebebew and Erkyehun followed him home.

“The race was tough and there were strong contenders,” said Molla. “So it wasn’t my expectation to win it, but I felt that I could get a medal with two laps remaining. Today’s win makes me hopeful for success at the African Cross Country Championships.

This women’s 8km race took place on a slightly-modified course in terms of obstacles and threw up a number of surprises; the winner, Enatnesh Alamirew, being among them.

Five athletes were together in leading pack at the halfway point after two laps as London 2012 Olympic Games and 2013 world championships 3000m steeplechase medallist Sofia Assefa initially struggled to to stay with the other four.  

The battle for the title on the last lap was between three athletes, as Dera Dida led from Alamirew and Assefa.

About 500 metres from the finish, Alamirew made a decisive move, never looking back as she crossed the line in 27:27 with Dida and Assefa taking second and third respectively.

“I am glad about getting the chance to race against top athletes,” said Alamirew. “Even though it wasn’t my first time at the Jan Meda International Cross Country, it is my first win. I was hoping to get a time and placing which would give me the chance to represent Ethiopia at the African Cross Country Championship, but I never expected to win.”

A big pack of 25 athletes were together in the leading pack of the junior men’s 8km race at the halfway point and 17 were still in contention at the start of the last 2km lap but unknown quantity Tefera Mosisa, competing in this race for the first time, proved the strongest and came home in 24፡11, followed by Gurmesa Nega one second in arrears with Assefa Tefera third.

IAAF World Cross Country Championships Guiyang 2015 junior women’s bronze medalist and pre-race favourite Etagegn Woldu made her third appearance in this race and finally clinched victory after finishing fourth and third in the last two years.

Woldu left her rivals Zerfe Limenh and Mulye Dekebo behind 500 metres before the finish line and comfortably won in 21፡04.

Elshadai Negash (with the assistance by Bizuayehu Wagaw) for the IAAF

Leading Results

Senior men (12km)
1. Getaneh Mola 35፡37
2. Brhan Nebebew 35፡44
3. Gebre Erkyehun 35፡47
4. Yehunilgn Adane 35፡57
5. Elias Kibret 36፡05
6. Moges Tiumay 36፡14

Senior women (8km)
1. Enatnesh Alamirew 27፡27
2. Dera Dida 27፡28
3. Soffia Assefa 27፡42
4. Foten Tesfaye 27፡55
5. Zewdnesh Ayele 27፡58
6. Kidsan Alema 28፡03

Junior men (8km)
1. Tefera Mosisa 24፡11
2. Gurmesa Nega 24፡12
3. Assefa Tefera 24፡18
4. Yenebilew Biazn 24፡20
5. Yohannes Mekasha 24፡22
6. Selemon Berihun 24፡25

Junior women (6km)
1. Etagegn Woldu 21፡04
2. Zerfe Limenh 21፡11
3. Mulye Dekebo 21፡17
4. Medina Nigussie 21፡22
5. Azmera Abrha 21፡22
6. Tirsit Desalegn 21፡25