Imane Merga Bags Another Cross Country Win

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Eric Lamaze

Athletics News
  • Imane Merga Bags Another Cross Country Win

Imane Merga Bags Another Cross Country Win

Imane Merga from Ethiopia, who won the IAAF World Cross Country championships held in Punta Umbria last week, has successfully bagged the 35th edition of the Trofeo Alasport in Ala dei Sardi. For making it to win the title, he narrowly defeated Caleb Ndiku, the world junior Cross Country champion and World Junior 1500m champion in 2010, from Kenya.

The Ala dei Sardi race held this year also observed the participation of top-two athletes of the World Cross Country Championships held in Punta Umbria last week, which, like ever, sustained the tradition of appearing as Italy’s best cross country race.

For merga, who holds the 5000m Diamond Race title, this certainly was not an easy win as in order to ensure his success, he had to hold off Ndiku who was mere three seconds behind while Paul Tanui, Punta Umbria’s  World silver medallist was following him from a distance of four seconds. To confirm his victory in the battle, the Ethiopian star had to show his trademark final kick which paid the dividends and helped him lift the World cross country title.

Confirming his dominance over the rivals, Merga made it to the finishing line in thirty two minutes and eleven seconds, while Ndiku covered the 11km distance in thirty two minutes and fourteen seconds. Looking delighted while enjoying his victorious moments, Merga said, “My goal is to win the 10,000 meters in Daegu. My first 5000 meters race on the track is scheduled on 29 May in Hengelo.”

Daniele Meucci, the European 10,000 meters bronze medalist from Italy finished sixth for covering the required distance in 34 minutes and one second. Among the European runners, he was the first to cross the finishing line.

Meanwhile, on women’s side, the world silver medalist in 5000m in Berlin, Silvia Jebiwott Kibet, earned a narrow win over Sule Utura, the former Juniour silver medallist from Ethiopia to accomplish the distance of 5.5km in 18.02 minutes. Mercy Cherono, the winner of the last year’s IAAF world junior cross country and world junior champion for 3000 meters ended up third; she made it to the finishing line in eighteen minutes and five seconds. Nadja Ejjafini, the champion of this year’s Italian cross country was the first European to cross the finishing line in eighteen minutes and thirty three seconds; she stood fourth in the overall competition.

The world known Sardinian race, which has been observing many world class athletes from around the globe, was initiated by Antonello Baltolu, a passionate organizer, thirty five years ago; with this year’s results becoming public, Merga and Kibet have successfully added their names to the list of winners who named this venue year after year.


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