Ethiopia Athletics: Birtukan Fente wins Vallagarina XC

Rovereto, Italy – Birtukan Fente Alemu of Ethiopia won the women’s 5.5km race at the 34th edition of the International Cross della Vallagarina here yesterday. In the men’s race, Zelalem Bacha finished second behind Thomas Longosiwa of Kenya.

Women’s race –
The 20-years-old Birtukan, who won a silver medal in the 3,000m steeplechase race at the world Junior Championships last year, hails from Bekoji, a small town in Oromia Region of Ethiopia, which produced several world class athletes like Kenenisa & Tariku Bekele, Fatuma Roba, Derartu Tulu and the Dibaba sisters (Tirunesh, Ejigayehu & Genzebe) to name a few. It was there that Birtukan started running at the age of 14.

Birtukan won the race in 18:56 followed by Morocco-Italian Nadja Ejjafini (19:10) and Tatyana Holovchenko of the Ukraine (19:24).

Men’s race –
Zelalem run neck in neck with Longosiwa, but had to settle for second place as he was unable to keep up with the Kenyan’s last lap surge.

Leading Results –
Men’s race:
1 Thomas Longosiwa (Kenya) 26:06
2 Zalalem Bacha (Ethiopia) 26:23
3 Paul Sugut (Kenya) 26:37

Women’s race:
1 Birtukan Alemu Fente (Ethiopia) 18:56
2 Nadja Ejjafini (Italy) 19:10
3 Tatyana Holovchenko (Ukraine) 19:24

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