Joshua Cheptepegi crossing the finishing tape at the 36th Cross International de Italica. Credit: De Italica Media

36th Cross International De Italica (Sevilla):

  • Men Winner: Joshua Cheptegei (Uganda) – 00:30:35
  • Female Winner: Agnes Jebet Tirop (Kenya) – 00:25:51
[/media-credit] Joshua Cheptepegi crossing the finishing tape at the 36th Cross International de Italica. Credit: De Italica Media

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.

Jacob Kiplimo receives his reward Credit: De Italica Media

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.

[/media-credit] The leading pack at the 36th Cross International de Italica race Credit: De Italica Media

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 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.

[/media-credit] The top three male performers on the podium in Sevilla Credit:

The illustrious list of Italica winners also has legends Kenenisa Bekele and Paul Tergat.

[/media-credit] Agnes Jebet Tirop smiles to the finishing tape Credit: De Italica Media

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).

Sir Sebastian Coe (second from left) took part in the race Credit: De Italica Media

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 Cheptegei (Uganda)
  • 2· Jacob Kiplimo (Uganda)
  • 3· Selemon Barega (Ethiopia)
  • 4· Abadi Hadis (Ethiopia)
  • 5· Emmanuel Giniki (Tanzania)
  • 6. Ilias Temsamani (Spain)
  • 7· Joel Ayeko (Uganda)
  • 8· Aweke Ayalew (Baharain)
  • 9· Adel Mechaal (Spain)
  • 10· Antoni Abadia (Portugal)

Top Three Women:

  • 1. Agnes Jebet Tirop (Kenya) – 25:51
  • 2. Lilian Kasait (Kenya) – 26:01
  • 3. Hellen Obiri (Kenya) – 26:03

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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