Imane Merga and Ayalew Hiwot score Ethiopian double in Atapuerca

Atapuerca (Burgos), Spain – The IAAF Cross Country Permit Series 2012/13 got underway today with a magnificent spectacle at the 9th ‘Cross Internacional de Atapuerca’ which witnessed respective victories of the reigning World Cross Country champion Imane Merga of Ethiopia and his compatriot Ayalew Hiwot – 5th at the London Olympics in the 3000m steeplechase – on the women’s side on a cold (5ºC) and windy day with gusts of up to 30km/h.

While Merga outsprinted the Kenyan pair of Emmanuel Bett and Vincent Chepkok in the closing 300 metres to grab a two-second victory, Hiwot took advantage of the current World silver medallist Linet Masai’s fall inside the final kilometre to capture a still convincing win over the Kenyan ace.

Conservative Merga singes scorching final

The 9.807km men’s race opened quite slowly, the best hint being no less than 40 athletes comprising the extremely large heading group by the 3000m point which was covered in 9:02 with Italy’s reigning European 10,000m silver medallist Daniele Meucci making most of the early pace closely followed by a plethora of Africans comfortably running at his shoulder. Read more

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