Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadesse captured a commanding win in the ‘11th Cross Internacional de Soria’ - EAA Cross Country Permit - race held today in sunny conditions. In doing so the little Tadesse, who became Eritrea’s first ever Olympic medallist last August at the Athens Games with a bronze at 10,000m, beat Qatar’s Abdullah Ahmad Hassan, who was runner-up some three seconds behind.
Tadesse and compatriots pack in top-5
The race opened not particularly quickly with a bunch of the top Spaniards making most of the early running but Tadesse took command shortly afterwards, and only Hassan - formerly Kenya’s Albert Chepkurui - managed to stay at his shoulder.
However, even Hassan, who holds an impressive 26:38.76 PB for the 10,000m (2003) and was in charge for some stages of the race fell back when, with 22 minutes on the clock and one mile remaining, the 22-year-old Madrid-based Tadesse stepped up the pace and left him with no chances.
Way back, Kenyan steeplechaser David Chemweno (PB, 8:11.44) took third place another 30 seconds adrift, while two more Eritreans, 30-year-old Tesfayohannes Mesfen and Samson Kiflemariam, still 20, were given the same time and completed a classy top five.
Zimbabwe’s Cuthbert Nyasango finished sixth and last year’s winner Benjamin Limo of Kenya, the 1999 World Cross Country short course champion, came seventh. First Spaniard home in eighth was José Ríos, who snatched bronze at the Europeans over 10,000m two years ago in Munich.
“I felt great and comfortable throughout the race and it was not a difficult win; Last year I only managed to be fourth here in Soria so I’m especially happy with today’s victory” said Tadesse, adding, “I’ll be running next Sunday in Barcelona (Spain) in a 10km road race, the ‘Jean Bouin’.”
These three Eritreans, joined by Yonas Kifle, led their country to the bronze medal in the long race at last year’s World Cross in Brussels. All of them live and train in Madrid under the guidance of Jerónimo Bravo.
Solo running by Kidane on her birthday
Ethiopia’s Werknesh Kidane grabbed an overwhelming victory in the women’s race on the day that she turned 23 years-old. The 2003 World 10,000m silver medallist led an Ethiopian double, as the African 10,000m junior record holder Merima Hashim (30:59.52 back in 2000) came second, some 200 metres behind.
Two former global 10,000m champions, Kenya’s Sally Barsosio (Athens 97) and Portugal’s Fernando Ribeiro (Atlanta 96) were third and fourth respectively, 53 and 67 seconds adrift, indicating the brisk pace set by Kidane, who was fourth at the Olympic Games in Athens last summer.
Before the second kilometre mark Kidane injected such a lethal spurt that none of her opponents could live with it. Kidane’s gap over Hashim became bigger and bigger as the race developed, and a handsome margin of 31 seconds separated both Ethiopians at the end.
Kidane is one of the most consistent cross country specialists having collected no less than four medals in the last three editions of the Worlds (gold: 2003, long race; silver: 2002 & 2003, short race and bronze: 2004, long race).
Kidane’s next race will take place next Sunday in Llodio (Spain) in the second leg of the IAAF Cross Country 2004/2005 Permit season.
Emeterio Valiente for the IAAF
Men (9000m course)
1. Zersenay Tadesse (Eri) 25:52
2. Abdullah Ahmad Hassan (Qat) 25:55
3. David Chemweno (Ken) 26:25
4. Tesfayohannes Mesfen (Eri) 26:27
5. Samson Kiflemariam (Eri) 26:27
6. Cuthbert Nyasango (Zim) 26:36
7. Benjamin Limo (Ken) 26:58
8. José Ríos (Esp) 27:15
9. Iván Galán (Esp) 27:15
10. Antonio Jiménez (Esp) 27:23
Women (6000m course)
1. Werknesh Kidane (Eth) 19:24
2. Merima Hashim (Eth) 19:55
3. Sally Barsosio (Ken) 20:17
4. Fernanda Ribeiro (Por) 20:31
5. Jacqueline Martín (Esp) 20:48
6. Eva Sanz (Esp) 21:08
7. Dolores Pulido (Esp) 21:14
8. Iris Fuentes-Pila (Esp) 21:16
9. Marta Fernández (Esp) 21:18
10. Rocío Ríos (Esp) 21:22