Fernando Ribeiro at the World Cross Country Championships in 2000 (Paulo Costa) © Copyright
General News Vilamoura, Portugal

Fernanda Ribeiro wins in Vilamoura, while Africa dominate the men’s race

After coming second here three times (1995, 96 and 97), Portugal’s 1995 World and 1996 Olympic 10,000m champion Fernanda Ribeiro, won the 27th Vilamoura Almond Blossom Cross Country - IAAF permit meeting - today, for the first time in her long illustrious career.

Fernanda led the 6km race from the beginning, and by the time the last lap had started she was completely isolated in front, with a very comfortable margin over the Cuban Yesenia Centeno - one of the great surprises of the race - and Jelena Prokopchuka.

The podium positions were settled by midway, in what turned out to be a very straightforward race, as the main African challengers Kenyans Lenah Cheruiyot and Kidane Etale Mahu, had been left behind by the leading three runners by that point.
At the end, Fernanda Ribeiro was not surprisingly very pleased with her victory coming on top of two good performances last week at 1500m and 3000m at the national indoor championships.

“It’s wonderful to begin the season like this and I hope I will be able to end it at my best at the World Championships in Paris. About today, well, everyone wants to win in Vilamoura, but this was my day.”

Fernanda was the first Portuguese runner to win the Almond Blossom Cross Country since Abertina Dias in 1989.

The men’s 10km event was completely ruled by African athletes, which was no surprise since they have dominated this event for the last decade. Patrick Ivuti, who won the race, was World Cross Country silver medallist behind Paul Tergat in 1999, and today produced a really determined run to win with a large margin from Morocco’s Abderrahim Goumri, and fellow Kenyan Tom Nyariki.

These three controlled the tactics and movements of the race from the very start, producing an even earlier certain podium finish than in the women’s race.

Known for it’s outstanding weather conditions, the Algarve again justified it’s reputation as one of the finest cross country venues, with both the men’s and women’s races taking place in sun shine and warm temperatures, as did the World championships which took place here in 2000.

Paulo Costa for IAAF

Men: 10km
1 Patrick Ivuti KEN 29:33
2 Abderrarhim Goumri MAR 29:50
3 Tom Nyariki KEN 30:01
4 Luke Kiphosgei KEN 30:26
5 Bernard Barmasai KEN 30:28
6 Ahmed Baday MAR 30:32
7 Mohammed Amyn MAR 30:39
8 Hicham Cahtt MAR 30:42
9 Nicholas Kemboi KEN 30:53
10 Mustapha Mohamed SWE 30:53

Women: 6km
1 Fernanda Ribeiro POR 20:12
2 Yesenia Centeno CUB 20:24
3 Jelena Prokopchuka LIT 20:26
4 Lenah Cherruiyot KEN 20:37
5 Kidane Etale Mahu ETH 20:39
6 Mónica Rosa POR 20:40
7 Yenealem Ayano ETH 20:46
8 Marina Bastos POR 20:53
9 Ana Dias POR 21:00
10 Maria Abel ESP 21:03