36th Cross International De Italica (Sevilla):
- Men Winner: Joshua Cheptegei (Uganda) – 00:30:35
- Female Winner: Agnes Jebet Tirop (Kenya) – 00:25:51
Uganda once again bask into international athletics limelight during the 36th edition of the Cross International De Italica cross country event in Sevilla, Spain on Sunday.
Joshua Cheptegei, 21, crossed the finishing tape first ahead of country-mate Jacob Kiplimo in a 1-2 photo finish.
Cheptegei posted 00:30:54, closely followed by Kiplimo in 00:30:35 in second place.
Ethiopian, Selemon Barega came third. It is the first cross country race in the series that the Ethiopian lost.
Another Ugandan, Joel Ayeko, 17, was 7th after running 00:31:48.
The victory for Cheptegei is another success script on the European circuit, following another milestone in November 2017 where he continued his rise in long distance athletics by running the world’s second fastest 15k race ever at the Seven Hills Race Zevenheuvelenloop in Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
He was timed at 41:16 mins, just short of the record of 41:13.
He becomes the third Ugandan to win this race after Geofrey Kamworor and Moses Kipsiro (2008 and 2009)’s triumph back in the days.
Cheptegei as quoted by IAAF.org noted;
I wasn’t sure if I would win today because I last competed in mid-November (when he fell just three seconds short of the world 15km best) and I really didn’t know how I was going to feel in my opening cross-country race of the season.
Luckily I felt strong and managed to succeed.
The illustrious list of Italica winners also has legends Kenenisa Bekele and Paul Tergat.
Meanwhile, Agnes Jebet Tirop was the best female runner in the annual race as Kenyans completed a 1-2-3 finish.
Tirop clocked 00:25:51 minutes ahead of country-mates Lilian Kasait (00:26:01) and Hellen Obiri (00:26:03).
President of the International Athletes Federation, Sir Sebastian Coe was among the hundreds of participants.
The event attracted over 400 athletes sponsored by the Antonio Serrano foundation.
Top 10 men:
- 1· Joshua C (Uganda)
- 2· Jacob Kiplimo (Uganda)
- 3· Selemon Barega (Ethiopia)
- 4· Abadi Hadis (Ethiopia)
- 5· Emmanuel Giniki (Tanzania)
- 7· Joel Ayeko (Uganda)
- 8· Aweke Ayalew (Baharain)
- 9· A (Spain)
- 10· An
Top Three Women:
- 1. Agnes Jebet Tirop (Kenya) – 25:51
- 2. Lilian Kasait (Kenya) – 26:01
- 3. Hellen Obiri (Kenya) – 26:03