From: Biniam Haile \(SWE\) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri Jan 09 2009 - 23:46:51 EST
Crowd-pleaser Tadese eyes capital crown
Published Date: 10 January 2009
By Mark Woods
THE legend of an ancient king may, some claim, have given Arthur's Seat
its name, but in Eritrea, Zersenay Tadese is assuredly royalty. The
former world cross-country champion will pound the turf at the base of
the volcanic mound today in the Bupa Great Edinburgh International,
rallied by the support of several hundred of his compatriots.
"They come from all around the UK," he explains, via broken English and
his translator. "After the race, we will have a party in Edinburgh."
Their deference is not always so civilised. Two years ago, Tadese was
runner-up, yet again, to Kenenisa Bekele but found himself so engulfed
at the finish that the police were sent in to remove him safely from the
throng. On another occasion, in Amsterdam, he had not even crossed the
line before the impromptu group hug closed in.
At least when he married, two months ago, in his home city of Ashmara,
there was sufficient crowd control to keep the vast numbers who turned
up to see the post-wedding procession in check. Tadese will hope for a
similarly unhindered path to victory this afternoon at the head of what
remains a world-class field, even in the injury-enforced absence of the
He will not have it easy. Eliud Kipchoge, seeking a second Edinburgh
title, underlined his credentials by destroying European champion Sergiy
Lebid in Campaccio on Tuesday and insists he has ample in reserve for
the unforgiving terrain within the 8.9 kilometre circuit of Holyrood
Park. "It won't have taken too much out of me," he said yesterday,
despite professing an urgent need for an afternoon nap. Tadese,
meanwhile, is determined, but has other priorities in 2009. "My main
goal is the London Marathon and the cross-country season is just part of
Although most of the British contingent has opted for the 4km
under-card, Andrew Lemoncello is intent on testing himself against the
Africans. The Olympian, from Fife, revealed he is to quit the
steeplechase in favour of the marathon. "The long distances, and that
training, feel more natural to me. I'm already running 100 miles a week
and marathon's a distance I can build up to over the next few years"
The women's field, pitted over a 5.6km course, will see Linet Masai,
runner-up last year, vying with fellow Kenyan Vivian Cheriuyot and
dazzling young Ethiopian Kalkidan Gezahegne.
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