SPORT

Kidane wins women's crown

Ethiopia's Werknesh Kidane, who won the women's cross country World championship long course title on Saturday, flanked by Deena Drossin of the United States (left) and teammate Merima Denboba. — AP

Ethiopia's Werknesh Kidane, who won the women's cross country World championship long course title on Saturday, flanked by Deena Drossin of the United States (left) and teammate Merima Denboba. — AP  

AVENCHES March 30. Ethiopia's Werknesh Kidane let Deena Drossin lead the whole way before surging ahead in the final meters to win the women's Cross Country World Championship long course title on Saturday.

On the men's side, reigning double champion Kenenisa Bekele, unaffected by a recent bout of typhoid, easily defended his short course crown.

Kidane completed the 8-kilometer (5-mile) course at the national equestrian center about 70 kilometers (45 miles) north of Lausanne, in 25 minutes, 53 seconds, with Drossin settling for silver for the second year in a row, crossing in 26.01.

Bekele, who last year became the first man to win both the long and short course titles, completed the 4-kilometre (2.5-mile) in 11 minutes and 1 second. Kenya's John Kibowen was runner-up in 11.04, with teammate Benjamin Limo crossing third in 11.06.

Drossin, who was aiming to become the first American to claim the world long title since Lynn Jennings won her third straight race in Boston in 1992, set a strong pace early on.

Taking the lead after about three minutes, Drossin then stretched the group out until halfway through the second lap, it was clearly going to be a two horse race between her and Kidane.

Kidane, who appeared to spend little effort over the dry, hard course, was content to let Drossin do the work for most of the journey, before finally overtaking the American with only 250 metres (820 feet) to go.

Bekele's form was uncertain heading into the race, the 20-year-old having recently recovered from a bout of typhoid and food poisoning. His chances were further compromised after making an appearance at an official championship party held on a boat on Lake Leman.

Bekele, who had planned only to stay a short while before heading off to bed, was stunned when the ship actually set sail, and he was forced to endure the three-hour long trip until almost 23:00.

"It was surprising," Bekele said. "I expected it to stay in the dock."

But the incident apparently had little effect on Bekele, who was in the lead group the whole time.

The Ethiopian has shone all season, showing no side effects since returning to action November after a summer break to recover from a knee and Achilles tendon injury that plagued his 2002 track season.

He came third in his first race back, and has been impossible to catch ever since, posting five consecutive victories on the cross country circuit in Europe — in Portugal, Belgium, England and twice in Spain.

It was a frustrating result for Kenya, which last won the individual title in 1999 when Paul Tergat collected his fifth straight crown in Belfast.

In the juniors, Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba edged Kenyan Peninah Chepchumba in the home stretch for the women's title.

Dibaba completed the 6,200-kilometer (3.85-mile) course in 20 minutes, 21 seconds, a second ahead of her Kenyan rival. Another Ethiopian, Gelete Burika took the bronze in 20.28. — AP

Recommended for you