Elgoibar Cross Country: A Family Affair for Ayalew sisters

Wude Ayalew Yimer (Photo: IAAF.org)

Elgoibar, Spain (IAAF) – Ethiopian sisters Wude and Hiwot Ayalew made the 69th Cross Internacional Juan Muguerza’ women race here today a family affair as they finished 1-2.

In the men’s race, Kenya’s reigning World Cross Country silver medalist Paul Tanui edged fellow countryman Geoffrey Kipsang to clinch the title. Hunegnaw Mesfin of Ethiopia finished 4th.

Women’s race

The women’s 6.624Km contest also offered a quality field comprising three top-ten athletes from last March’s World Cross Country Championships in Punta Umbría in the guise of the Kenyan pair of Priscah Jepleting Cherono (5th) and Pauline Korikwiang (7th)  plus the in-form Ethiopian Wude Ayalew Yimer (6th), a creditable third in Seville one week ago. Her sister Hiwot Ayalew, fourth in Seville, was also in contention.

The race kicked off quite conservatively with Spain’s Diana Martín as the early leader. The opening kilometre was covered in a slow 3:27 time with the Africans running quietly in the middle of the pack.

It was the former World Junior XC champion Korikwiang who took charge of the race some five minutes into the race. Her change of rhythm was only resisted by the Ayalew sisters, while Jepleting lost ground gradually.

The key movement came with the clock reading 13:20 when the 2009 World 10,000m bronze medallist Wude Yimer broke away with incredible ease from her younger sister Hiwot and Korikwiang. By the bell, Ayalew had a six-second margin on Hiwot and a nine-second advantage over Korikwiang.

There were no remarkable changes over the last lap and the 24-year-old Ethiopian romped home unopposed in 22:39 while Hiwot secured her runner-up place from Korikwiang, a lonesome third.

“The circuit has been tough but I felt very strong throughout. I’m especially happy since I came second here four years ago and managed to win today at last. My next big target is to make the Ethiopian team for the Olympics over the 10,000m but the rivalry will be huge.”

Leading Results – 

Women (6.62km):

1. Wude Ayalew Yimer (Ethiopia)  22:29

2. Hiwot Ayalew (Ethiopia)  22:35

3. Pauline Korikwiang (Kenya)  22:49

4. Priscah Jepleting (Kenya)  23:10


Men (10.8km):

1. Paul Tanui (Kenya)   32:25

2. Geoffrey Kipsang (Kenya)  32:25

3. Geoffrey Kirui (Kenya) 33:04

4. Humegaw Mesfin (Ethiopia)  33:21



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