Hiwot Ayalew won the women’s race for an Ethiopian double.
Ethiopia’s Imane Merga flashed a broad smile and pointed his fingers in the air as he broke the tape at the 9th Cross Internacional de Atapuerca’ in Spain last weekend.
The race is the first in the The IAAF Cross Country Permit Series 2012/13.
Merga, the reigning world champion in cross country, held off two rival Kenyans: Vincent Chepkok and Emmanuel Bet. The Ethiopian’s winning time for the 9.807K course was 28 minutes and five seconds. He remains undefeated on Spanish soil.
“Honestly, it has been a very tough win as mainly Bett but also Chepkok and [Teklemariam] Medhin make things very difficult. Anyway, I was always confident of my final sprint, so I decided to wait and see throughout the race and fortunately it paid off.”
Meanwhile, in the women’s race (7.839K), Hiwot Ayalew of Ethiopia was the first to break the tape in 25:01. Kenya’s Linet Masai was second in 25:19. Third place went to Britain’s Jessica Coulson.
“While Masai and I have had a fierce battler but unfortunately she fell at the end; otherwise, it would have been quite tough to beat a cross country star like her,” Alayew said.
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