March 18, 2004 at 2:22 am #1311
It is two decades since a non-African won the junior men’s title (Spain’s Pere Casacuberta, 1984), and even longer since the team title left the continent, so it is fair to assume we are looking at Kenya or Ethiopia to produce the bulk of the junior medallists at this weekend’s 32nd IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Brussels, Belgium (20/21 March).
Kenya have taken the team gold for the last five years, and indeed in 15 of the last 16 years, but Ethiopia have struck individual gold for the last three years.
The junior women’s race has also been dominated by Africans. Finland’s Annemari Sandell (1995) was the last non-Kenyan or Ethiopian victor.
Last year Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba, like Kenya’s Kipchoge, went on to win the World 5000m title in Paris after taking the World Cross Junior gold, and Ethiopia will look to Meselech Melkamu, twice national junior cross country champion to replace Dibaba as champion, and keep the junior crown out of the hands of fierce rivals Kenya.
Senior Men’s Races
When you establish a sporting reputation as quickly and as supreme as has Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele since 2001, it should come as no surprise that your rivals will focus all their attentions on knocking you back down to size. There is nothing unfair about it, it is just a reality of life.
Bekele versus the world
Therefore at this weekend’s 32nd IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Brussels, Belgium, the distance running world will be divided into two camps, Bekele and the rest of the world.
Senior Women’s Races
The aura of invincibility which Paula Radcliffe wore with such tight assurance has slipped during her last three races.
While that will disappoint her British supporters, the consequence is that the senior women’s events at the 32nd IAAF World Cross-Country Championships, Brussels, Belgium (20/21 March 2004) promise to be even more competitive than in recent years.
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