By Thomas Odongo
Ugandan teenage long distance runner Jacob Kipliomo emerged the men’s overall winner at the Cross Internacional de Itálica, the sixth leg of this season’s IAAF Cross Country Permit series on Sunday. Kiplimo finished with a winning time of 27:48 from 9.9km to claim top honors in Santiponce near the Spanish City of Seville.
Another Ugandan in the shape of Joshua Cheptegei also defending champion finished second with a winning time of 28:04 to compound a good outing for the Ugandan legion. Another Ugandan Mande Bushendich also finished among the top 10, in 6th spot with a winning time of 28:28.
For Kiplimo’s case, he was lagging behind before the fourth lap but he gained his mettle. A few seconds later it was his fellow Ugandan Cheptegei who was trying to track down his footsteps but once he had the lead in his grasp, he could never let it go.
According to the commentators, Cheptegei was vying to beat Kiplimo for he was trying to match Matthew Kisorio’s (also Ugandan) achievement of back-to-back titles (2008 and 2009) but his younger compatriot unleashed a devastating kick with the clock reading 22:10 to open a sizeable margin on him as the on looking crowd was set ablaze.
“I decided to run conservatively for the first half of the race, and then I changed the pace and felt great until the end,” Kiplimo told the media there. He also revealed that he will participate in the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Aarhus 2019 on 30 March.
For Cheptegei, he claims that he unleashed just 85% of his potential but will return home in preparation for the Aarhus event.
In the women’s pool, Kenya’s running bullet Beatrice Chepkoech emerged winner with a winning time of 28:01. Right from the onset, she unleashed her hot feet and in just one minute, only four athletes – Uganda’s Stella Chesang, Turkey’s Yasemin Can, Ethiopia’s Gete Alemayehu and Kenya’s Hellen Ekarake Lobun only tried to match her pace.
Leading results from the event
1 Jacob Kiplimo (UGA) 27:48
2 Joshua Cheptegei (UGA) 28:04
3 Albert Rop (BRN) 28:06
4 Vincent Rono (KEN) 28:14
5 Soufiane El Bakkali (MAR) 28:26
6 Mande Bushendich (UGA) 28:28
7 David Palacio (ESP) 28:49
8 Toni Abadía (ESP) 28:50
9 Adel Mechaal (ESP) 29:06
10 Javier Guerra (ESP) 29:07
1 Beatrice Chepkoech (KEN) 28:01
2 Stella Chesang (UGA) 28:35
3 Yasemin Can (TUR) 29:04
4 Hellen Lobun (KEN) 29:10
5 Gete Alemayehu (ETH) 29:49
6 Trihas Gebre (ESP) 29:57
7 Jess Piasecki (GBR) 30:07
8 Verity Ockenden (GBR) 30:11
9 Esther Chebet (UGA) 30:48
10 Irene Sánchez-Escribano (ESP) 30:50