Inzikuru Wins With Ease

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(Uganda’s Inzikuru wins another one).

This year’s International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) cross country meet got off to a good start in Oeiras, yesterday, with Kenya’s Peter Kamais winning the men’s race, while the women’s contest was dominated by World 3000m Steeplechase champion Dorcus Inzikuru of Uganda.

The race route in Oeiras was impressive with long hills, and the weather was hot for the season, more than 24 degrees on a sunny day. Algarve based Peter Kamais, who won the Almond Blossom Cross Country last January, broke away at the front of yesterday’s race after the third kilometer with his compatriots Peter Muriuki and Kiprono Menjo. The trio continued to dominate until the end with Kamais crossing the line 19 seconds ahead of Muriuki.

For the winner “it was an easy win, because I was very well prepared. I think I will run next weekend in Torres Vedras (EAA XC permit, on 19 November) but then I’ll return to Kenya for training to achieve my goal.� What is the goal… “to win at the World Cross Country Championships!�

Pre-race favorite, Ronald Rutto the defending Oeiras Champion, finished in eighth place, behind four Portuguese - Rui Pedro Silva, Fernando Silva, Paulo Guerra, and Paulo Gomes.

In the women’s race, the Portuguese cross-country champion, Jessica Augusto, took a large lead on the rest of the field after the second kilometer. However, in the second of the three laps she slowed and was passed with ease by Dorcus Inzikuru, the World 3000m Steeplechase champion, and by the former Portuguese champion Anália Rosa.

In the last lap, Inzikuru made her strength tell and with a strong finish came home well ahead of Rosa. The last place on the podium was decided in a dramatic sprint between Portugal’s Mónica Rosa and Kenyan Alice Chelagat, with the Portuguese woman taking the lead. Early leader Augusto eventually finished in fifth place.

“I am recovering from a left leg injury, and have been training only in the last few days, but luckily I’m not feeling any pain,� said Inzikuru. “This is a hard course but I loved it and it wasn’t a difficult to win. My goal for the season is the World Championship in Osaka, but maybe I compete also in the World Cross Country.�

Meanwhile, none of the four winners had to fight hard for their titles at the Nordic Cross Country Championships in Fredrikstad, Norway, yesterday. The weather was fine and sunny day but the grass course was very soft because of the heavy rain on Friday.

Swedish steeplechaser Mustafa Mohamed was the big favorite in the men’s 9km race and left his opponents so easily that it even surprised himself. “I think I started rather slowly, because the course was so heavy to run on and I almost could not believe that I was given no challenge during the last 1.4km lap,� said Mohammed, who was fourth at the European Championships at 3000m Steeplechase this year.

Miwambo writes for The Black Star News from London.

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