- March 22, 2004 at 1:51 pm #1321
(Can’t find Junior Women’s recap but Ethiopia wins that also to go 3 for 3 on day one.)
- April 10, 2004 at 5:30 pm #13858
The Electronic Telegraph
Sunday 21 March 2004
Former breakfast television pancake maker Benita Johnson became the
first Australian to win a world cross-country medal when she was a shock
winner of the women’s long race in Brussels yesterday.
The 24-year-old finished well clear of Ethiopian duo Ejigayehu Dibaba
and last year’s champion Werknesh Kidane to become the first
non-Ethiopian medallist of the championships.
Earlier the Ethiopians had swept the medals in both the junior women’s
race and the men’s short race where Kenenisa Bekele won his third
successive crown in the event and set himself up for a double for the
third consecutive year when he runs the long race today.
Johnson was delighted at breaking the Ethiopian monopoly and finally
gaining a medal in an event in which she had previously finished fourth,
fifth and sixth.
“I wanted the crowd to hear a different anthem to the Ethiopian one as
they had heard it enough,” she said. “I wanted the organisers to go
scrabbling through the tape box to find an Australian one.”
Johnson, once a top junior hockey player, stuck with the leading group
from the start and refused to be shrugged off as Kidane and Dibaba – the
elder sister of the world 5000m champion Tirunesh – turned on the pace
from the halfway mark.
Bekele, meanwhile, stormed home well clear of compatriot Gebre
Gebremariam with another Ethiopian Maregu Zewdie filling third in the
Kenya’s dreadful day looked to be set for a boost when Bekele was led at
the bell by Eliud Kirui, but that was as good as it got for them.
Even worse for Kenya was the sudden emergence from the pack of their
former 3000m steeplechaser Stephen Cherono – he now runs for Qatar under
the name Saif Saaeed Shaheen – and two of his team-mates including
another former Kenyan Abdullah Ahmad Hassan – the former Albert
Chepkurui – as the bell sounded.
Salt was added to the wound as the Qataris edged Kenya for team silver.
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