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Kenyan Nicholas Korir and Portugal's Sara Moreira captured victories at the São Silvestre da Amadora on New Year's Eve (31 December) to cap several days of end of year races in Portugal.
This famous 10Km race in Amador, the third largest city in Portugal and near the capital Lisbon, always attracts large crowds for the country's most famous New Year's Eve contest.
On a very hilly course, Korir, Eritrean Goitom Kifle and Cuthbert Nyasango of Zimbabwe along with Portuguese Manuel Damião, Licínio Pimentel and Euclides Varela where in the front of the race until the final kilometre, when only the Kenyan and Damião forced the pace until the final metre where Korir’s experience prevailed. For Korir (29:09), who was second in this race in 2009, the moment of triumph had finally arrived. Damião, third in 2009, crossed the line just one second later with Kifle (29:16) third.
Two other Portuguese, Varela, the winner of the Lisbon Christmas Grand Prix in early in December, and Pimentel, a former Portuguese road running champion, rounded out the top five. Solo effort for Moreira
With Marisa Barros (flu) and Dulce Felix absent, Moreira, the European 5000m bronze medallist, was the most famous runner in the field and she proved to be in good shape by winning in 33:56, 1:17 ahead of the runner-up.
Moreira was always in front leaving the two Russians, Eugenia Danilova and Maria Kovaleva, to fight it out for the remaining podium spots, finishing ahead of Portuguese Ercília Machado and Kenyan Helen Jepkosgei.
“This was an achievement of a goal I pursued,” said Moreira. “I started running here four years ago. I was third once, second twice and now I won. I’m very happy.”
Moreira is preparing for the 2011 season in which her major goal is next summer’s World Championships in Daegu. “I’ll focus on the 3000m Steeplechase, looking for the national record.”
Earlier in the week, several athletes produced good races in Portugal. On 26 December, two 10Km S. Silvestre races were held, in Lisbon and Porto. In the Portuguese capital, Jessica Augusto, the European Cross Country champion, took the victory in 31:52 followed by Portuguese Dulce Felix (33:07) and Anália Rosa (33:48). In the men’s race Hermano Ferreira (29:12) was the winner ahead of José Ramos (29:50) and Ricardo Mateus (30:09).
In Porto, Rui Pedro Silva and Fernanda Ribeiro where the winners. Silva (29:17) was well clear of Tiago Costa (30:05) and Rui Silva (30:10), Ribeiro clear of Cláudia Pereira (35:22) and Ercília Machado (35:27).
Two days later (28), both winners ran in Volta ao Funchal on Madeira Island, where they faced other great other runners. There, in a 6Km contest, Portuguese Eduardo Mbengani take the victory (16:48), ten seconds ahead of Kenyan David Bett (16:58) with Rui Pedro Silva (17:07) in third place. In the women’s race, Jessica Augusto win with 18:46, ahead of Ethiopian Almenseh Belete (19:09), Belgian Veerle Dejaeghere (19:29) and Fernanda Ribeiro (19:56).
Finally, on 30 December, Lisbon hosted another S. Silvestre 10km, in Olivais, where the winner was Portuguese Ricardo Dias (29:51) ahead of Russian Yuri Abramov (30:04) and Portuguese Sérgio Silva (30:11). In the women’s race Portuguese Clarisse Cruz (34.11) won ahead of Russian Maria Kovaleva (34:18) and Eugenia Danilova (34:37).
Antonio Manuel Fernandes for the IAAF
RESULTS (Amadora): MEN (10 km) 1. Nicolas Korir KEN 29.09 2. Manuel Damião POR 29.10 3. Goitom Kifle ERI 29.16 4. Euclides Varela POR 29.27 5. Licínio Pimentel POR 29.28 6. Vitaly Shafar UKR 29.32 7. Cuthbert Nyasango ZIM 29.37 8. Tiago Costa POR 29.48 9. José Ramos POR 29.57 10. Ricardo Mateus POR 30.03
Women (10km) 1. Sara Moreira POR 33.56 2. Eugenia Danilova RUS 35.13 3. Maria Kovaleva RUS 35.13 4. Ercília Machado POR 35.20 5. Hellen Jepkosgei KEN 35.32 6. Eden Tesalem ERI 35.46 7. Solange de Jesus POR 36.11 8. Sandra Teixeira POR 36.32 9. Cláudia Pereira POR 36.44 10. Eunice Tavares POR 37.24