Imane Merga of Ethiopia crosses the finish line to win the men's senior race in Punta Umbria (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Atapuerca, Spain

Merga to headline start of IAAF XC Permit season in Atapuerca

Reigning World Cross Country champion Imane Merga of Ethiopia will be the headline act at the 'Cross Internacional de Atapuerca' on Sunday 13 November, the opening race of the 2011/ 2012 IAAF Cross Country Permit Series.

Merga, who followed up his success last March in Punta Umbria with a bronze medal in the 10,000m at the World Championships in Daegu and capturing the 5000m Diamond Race Trophy in the Samsung Diamond League, will open his international Cross Country campaign with a strong test. The 23-year-old will face Eritrea's Teklemariam Medhin, the 2010 World Cross Country silver medallist, who won in Atapuerca last year where he upset the then-reigning World Cross Country champion, Joseph Ebuya.

In the women's race, Kenyan Linet Masai will lead the field. Masai, the bronze medallist in the Daegu 10,000m, has raced to silver in the past three editions of the World Cross Country Championships.

Genzebe Dibaba, last year's race winner, will also return.

Organisers, Emeterio Valiente and Bob Ramsak for the IAAF