Kiplagat ends medal drought

AMMAN - Florence Kiplagat ended a 15-year drought for Kenya at the World Cross Country Championships in Amman, Jordan, on Saturday while Ethiopia got another win in the men's race from Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam.

AMMAN - Florence Kiplagat ended a 15-year drought for Kenya at the World Cross Country Championships in Amman, Jordan, on Saturday while Ethiopia got another win in the men's race from Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam.

Kiplagat came from behind to beat compatriot Linet Masai, who had built what appeared a decisive advantage in the closing stages by three seconds in the 8km race.

Kiplagat clocked 26min:13sec, Masai 26:16 and third-placed Ethiopian Meselech Melkamu was another three seconds behind in 26:19.

It was Kenya's first women's race win since 1994 and the first overall since Paul Tergat won a fifth straight men's title in 1999.

But it was the only individual Kenyan title on the day as rivals Ethiopia showed they meant business in the other races.

Gebremariam led a close men's 12km race in 35:02, pipping Moses Ndiema Kipsiro of Uganda and third-placed Eritrean and 2007 winner Zersenay Tadese by two seconds.

Gebremariam got the seventh Ethiopian men's race success in the last eight editions, with Kenenisa Bekele winning the other six.

Three-time Olympic champion Bekele was not present on Saturday and neither was compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba, a two-time Olympic champion and three-time cross country world champion, on the women's side.

But Dibaba's younger sister Genzebe Dibaba won the women's junior race. The men's junior title also went to an Ethiopian, Ayele Abshero.

Kenya took three team titles, though, in both senior races and the men's junior event. The women's junior team title went to Ethiopia. - Sapa-DPA

X