In Alcobendas, Gebre Gebremariam making it four victories in four outings in autumn 2009 (Miguel Alfambra) © Copyright
General News Alcobendas, Spain

Gebremariam out-sprints Medhin, while Cheruiyot breezes in Alcobendas

Ethiopia’s reigning World Cross Country champion Gebregziabher Gebremariam captured a thrilling sprint victory in the 28th ‘Cross Internacional de la Constitución’ held this afternoon in the outskirts of Madrid on a cloudy and chilly (10º C) day.

In doing so, the 25-year-old continued his momentum to come back to his native Ethiopia unbeaten after a successful European tour with a tally of four wins to his credit.

The women’s race became a solo exhibit by Kenya’s World 5000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot who became an overwhelming victor some 24 seconds ahead of her compatriot Milcah Cheywa, the reigning World 3000m Steeplechase bronze medallist.

Men’s race: Gebremariam, confident of his late burst of speed

The presence of Eritrea’s Teklemariam Medhin added extra interest to the men’s 10,100 race as the 20-year-old rising star is enjoying a successful early season performances capped with a superb win on 22 November in Llodio.

However, it was Kenya’s 2008 World XC silver medallist Leonard Komon who carved out the race although the rhythm proved not to be particularly fast. At halfway, six men still remained in contention, with only Spain’s Alberto García embedded into the African party but the 2005 European cross country silver medallist lost ground shortly afterwards.

The pace became increasingly quicker (7:31 for the third 2500 loop from for the previous lap in 7:59). Firstly Kidane Tadese and later Komon dropped from the head inside the last lap and with 500m to go Medhin made his move and pushed to the death with only last year’s winner Gebremariam for company. 

The outcome of the race promised to be full of excitement and it let nobody down as the closing 150m witnessed a spectacular neck-and-neck with Gebremariam prevailing over the in-form Medhin by just one second in 30:55 while Komon took third 11 seconds in arrears but two seconds ahead of a fading Tadese.

World Cross Country title defense and Diamond League are Gebremariam’s 2010 goals

A more than satisfied Gebremariam declared, “My only target today was to win. Despite the presence of top rivals like Medhin I was confident of my final sprint. I now return home but I’ll likely come back to Spain for some cross country races in January.”

Asked on his possible showdown with his fellow Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele at next March’s IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz (Poland), a smiling Gebremariam responded: “There’s still plenty of time ahead of that event; I hope to reach the Worlds very well prepared and let’s see what happens. He and I will likely meet each other at the Ethiopian trials one month before.” On the track season, today’s winner declared: “I’m excited on the new Diamond League and I would like to shine in the 10,000 event.”

As a curious sidenote, Gebremariam has taken advantage of his stay in Spain to buy a Toyota car as well as a portable computer. “It will be easier to carry the portable to Ethiopia than the car,” he joked.

Solo run for Cheruiyot

The women’s 5900m competition witnessed full Kenyan dominance. The start was slow and the hot favourite Cheruiyot only injected a brisk pace when the clock was reading eight minutes; by halfway, the 26-year-old Berlin 5000m winner had built a seven-second margin on Cheywa, also of Kenya, while Portugal’s Marisa Barros – a creditable 6th at last Berlin Worlds in the Marathon event – was a lonesome third.

Cheruiyot, who was fresh from a narrow win in Leffrinckroucke last Sunday, strengthened her leadership in the closing laps to romped home unopposed in 19:53, over 100m ahead of Cheywa, herself 23 seconds clear of Barros.

“Honestly, today’s race has not been a difficult victory for me,” declared Cheruiyot, adding, “I’m not planning to compete at the XC Worlds, as my goal for the winter will be the World Indoor Championships in Doha (Qatar) where I’ll contest the 3000m.”  Cheruiyot holds a fine 8:30.53 indoor mark for the distance when winning the Birmingham permit last February, a national record.

Emeterio Valiente for the IAAF

Leading Results:
MEN (10,100m) -
 1. Gebre Gebremariam, ETH   30:55
 2. Teklemariam Medhin, ERI  30:56
 3. Leonard Komon,KEN        31:06
 4. Kidane Tadese, ERI       31:08
 5. Alberto García, ESP      31:48
 6. Adhanom Abraha, ERI      31:50
 7. Jesús España, ESP        31:53
 8. Miguel Barzola, ARG      31:54
 9. Francisco España, ESP    32:03
10. Eliseo Martín, ESP       32:10

WOMEN (5900m) -
 1. Vivian Cheruiyot, KEN     19:53
 2. Milcah Cheywa, KEN       20:17
 3. Marisa Barros, POR       20:40
 4. Marta Tigabea, ETH       20:54
 5.  Fortuna Zegergish, ERI  20:55
 6. Alba García, ESP         21:04
 7. Judith Plá, ESP          21:13
 8. Azucena Díaz, ESP        21:17
 9. Jacqueline Martín, ESP   21:20
10. Irene Alfonso, ESP       21:26