[dehai-news] (IAAF) Eritrea's Teklemariam Medhin takes 3rd place in Cross Country race: Spain

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From: Biniam Tekle (biniamt@dehai.org)
Date: Mon Nov 09 2009 - 09:17:48 EST

Sunday, 08 November 2009
 Gebremariam and G. Dibaba secure Ethiopian double in Atapuerca
Atapuerca (Burgos), Spain – Reigning World Cross Country champion
Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam of Ethiopia captured a thrilling sprint victory
ahead of Spain’s Alemayehu Bezabeh as the new Spanish Cross Country season
kicked off with the ‘6th Cross Internacional de Atapuerca’ today on a cold
and very windy day.

On the women’s side, Ethiopia’s current World junior Cross Country champion
Genzebe Dibaba snatched a convincing eight-second win over Kenya’s Ines

*MEN – Gebremariam defeats quality line-up *

The 8.76km men’s race offered a star-studded field with no less than four
top-10 finishers from the last World Cross Country championships in
contention - Gebremariam, the Kenyan pair of Mathew Kisorio (6th) and Mark
Kiptoo (7th) plus the Eritrean Teklemariam Medhin (9th).

It was the powerful Eritrean contingent – also comprising Samuel Tsegay, who
was a solid fifth at last month’s World Half Marathon Championships with a
1:00:17 PB – that ruled the race in the early stages while the hot
favourites Gebremariam and the Ethiopian-born Bezabeh ran comfortably tucked

Firstly the Ethiopian and then the Spaniard were in charge of the leading
group but it was Medhin who made a decisive move with the clock reading 16
minutes; only Gebremariam and Bezabeh could live with his frantic pace.

However, the 20-year-old Eritrean started to fade once he was overtaken by
his rivals with last year’s victor Bezabeh pushing hard inside the last
kilometre while Gebremariam remained at the Spaniard’s shoulder with ease.
The key moment came with some 80m left when the reigning World champion
found another gear to pass Bezabeh and romp home in 24:41 while the Spaniard
was given the same time. Medhin completed a classy podium three seconds in

The winner was quoted as saying: “Before the race, I was worried because of
the bad weather but as long as the race developed I felt better and better.
I was making my cross country debut for the season so my performance was
really a question mark. Happily, everything was fine in the end. Once the
race got underway I realised the wind was very annoying and decided to save
energy for the final sprint.”

As for Bezabeh, the 23-year-old Madrid-based rising star declared: “I’m
satisfied with my result although the wind prevented my victory in the
sprint. Anyway I have been beaten by the World champion!”

*WOMEN – Dibaba’s successful start on the senior scene*

The women’s 4.825km contest soon became a two-horse battle in the guise of
double (2008 & 2009) World Junior Cross Country champion Genzebe Dibaba and
Kenya’s Ines Chenonge, a creditable 10th placed last March in Amman.

The 27-year-old Kenyan dictated the early pace of the race with only the
youngest of the Dibaba sisters for company. Last summer, both athletes
clashed on the occasion of the World Championships in Berlin over 5000m with
Chenonge (sixth) prevailing over Dibaba, who finished eighth at the age of

The Ethiopian, who is still eligible for the Junior race at next March’s
World XC Championships to be held in Bydgoszcz, injected a brisker pace with
500m to go and found no answer from Chenonge, taking away some kind of
revenge from her Berlin loss to the Kenyan. Dibaba, who is also the reigning
World Junior 5000m silver medallist, was timed at 14:53 while Chenonge
crossed the line eight seconds adrift.

The fight for the minor place on the podium became a tight sprint between
two reigning European bronze medallists such as Portugal’s Ines Monteiro
(Cross Country) and Ireland’s Mary Cullen (3000m indoors) with the
29-year-old Monteiro getting the better of the Irishwoman by just one second
although well back (22 seconds) from the winner.

Spain’s World 3000m Steeplechase champion Marta Domínguez came a distant
19th some 1:31 behind Dibaba; reportedly, the 34-year-old Spaniard is far
from her best form due to the number of media and publicity appearances on
her schedule since winning the European Athlete of the Year honour.

*Emeterio Valiente for the IAAF*

Leading Results -

Men (8.760m)
1. Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam (Ethiopia) 24:41
2. Alemayehu Bezabeh (Spain) 24:41
3. Teklemariam Medhin (Eritrea) 24:44
4. Samuel Tsegay (Eritrea) 25:05
5. Mark Kiptoo (Kenya) 25:24
6. Sergio Sánchez (Spain) 25:27
7. Ayad Lamdassem (Spain) 25:30
8. Amanuel Messel (Eritrea) 25:32
9. Javier Guerra (Spain) 25:50
10. Francisco Javier López (Spain) 25:54

Women (4.825m)
1. Genzebe Dibaba(Ethiopia) 14:53
2. Ines Chenonge (Kenya) 15:01
3. Ines Monteiro (Por) 15:05
4. Mary Cullen (Ireland) 15:06
5. Fortuna Zegergish (Eritrea) 15:39
6. Gladys Cherono (Kenya) 15:41
7. Arienne Herzog (The Netherlands) 15:45
8. Nuria Fernández (Spain) 15:45
9. Sara Moreira (Portugal) 15:47
10. Iris Fuentes-Pila (Spain) 15:50

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