Azmeraw Bekele on the way to his upset victory at the Corrida de Langueux 10Km (Corrida de Langueux organisers) © Copyright
General News Langueux, France

A. Bekele and Wangary take Langueux 10Km titles

Ethiopian Azmeraw Bekele and Kenyan Mirriam Wangary defeated a pair of favourites to win the 20th edition of Corrida de Langueux 10Km on Saturday (26).

A crowd of more than 15,000 spectators turned out to watch this IAAF Bronze Label Road Race which was run under sunny and warm (27 C.) conditions.

Ethiopian Tadesse Tola was the logical favourite in the men's race, just a couple of months after his Paris Marathon laurels, in the absence of the race record holder (27:56, 2007) Abdellah Falil f Morocco who was sidelined with a mild calf strain.

Instead, another Moroccan, Mourad Morafit, took the reins from the outset, with Tola and his teammate Azmeraw Bekele shadowing the leader. The positions remained unchanged until the final lap where Tola was eventually dropped and several men, including Onesphore Nkunzimena of Burundi and Kenyan Salim Saïti were still were serious contenders for the victory.

Morafit, a track specialist with a 13:02.84 performance set two years ago, seemed to have the ideal profile to be the best for a fast finish race, but Bekele, a younger cousin of distance legend Kenenisa Bekele, displayed an impressive kick speed to win by two seconds from the Moroccan. The Ethiopian's time, 28:13, was the second fastest ever in Langueux.

Five months after his 10Km debut in Boujdour (MAR) with 27:45, Bekele, the national Cross Country champion, explained his tactics: "We Ethiopians did a team race today and I would like to thank Tadesse for having helping me. I feel I had the race record in my legs but the numerous loops and bends slowed us a little bit."

Morafit gave credit to his rivals "Bekele really was impressive in the finish. Usually this is my strong part but today I have to accept that there was nothing to do against him."

Having run 32:23 in high altitude at home in Addis Ababa, Aymalem Woldemickael had the favor of the prognosticators, even if she arrived in the West of France to contest he first ever race in Europe.

However, Kenyans Mirriam Wangari and Sarah Kepchirchir teamed to control the race and use their experience to first tire, and eventually drop the Ethiopian as Wangari sailed to a second consecutive victory in Langueux. In those conditions, the 32:28 race record set by Nadia Ejjafini in 2006 was safe but the value of Wangari's 32:55 was guaranteed by the 23-second margin of victory.

Pierre-Jean Vazel for the IAAF

Leading results -
1. Azmeraw Bekele (ETH) 28:13
2. Mourad Morafit (MAR) 28:15
3. Onesphore Nkunzimana (BUR) 28:15
4. Salim Saïti (KEN) 28:17r
5. Mohamed El Hachimi (MAR) 28:18

1. Mirriam Wangari (KEN) 32:55
2. Aynalem Woldemickael (ETH) 33:18
3. Sarah Chepchirchir (KEN) 33:48
4. Nancy Omwenga (KEN) 34:27
5. Fatiha Kliliech-Fauvel (FRA) 34:37

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