Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Unheralded Yihunilign Adane’s recorded a surprise last-gasp victory over world junior cross-country champion Hagos Gebrhiwet at the Ethiopian Clubs Cross Country Championships on Sunday (15).

On a day of surprises, Haftamnesh Tesfaye beat Ruti Aga and national 1500m champion Senbere Teferi in the junior women’s race, while Abera Chane and Meseret Toklaw took the men’s and women’s senior race titles.

Gebrhiwet shocked in the final sprint by Adane

Yihunilign Adane (Photo: Elshadai Negash)

Yihunilign Adane (Photo: Elshadai Negash)

Cloudy skies and uncharacteristically-cooler temperatures at the Jan Meda race course in Addis Ababa provided the backdrop to the second event in the domestic cross-country season in Ethiopia. The absence of top names in the senior races did not help lift the quiet mood at the venue, but a couple of exciting races in the junior events were the surprise highlights of the morning’s proceedings.

World junior cross-county champion and world 5000m silver medallist Hagos Gebrhiwet was the prohibitive pre-race favourite going into the men’s junior race and an air of inevitability swirled around the course when he moved ahead of a tightly-packed leading group at the bell.

Gebrhiwet continued to stay in the ascendency until making what looked like a race-clinching kick with 400m of the race left. He looked comfortable going into the last 200m until youngster Yihunilign Adane started to close the gap on the world junior 5000m record-holder.

Adane continued to chip away at the lead before overtaking Gebrhiwet at the finish line to stop the clock in 23:20. Gebrhiwet, given the same time, was a disappointed second ahead of Muhajir Hayredin (23:23).

“I didn’t expect to win it, but also it wasn’t the first time for me to win a race with this kind of manner,” said Adane, who finished 13th in the junior men’s race at this year’s IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

“I think it was a result of not giving up until the very last second. I was watching his move on the last bend and he wasn’t changing his pace. I don’t know why he acted like that. He might underestimate his challengers, but I kept on increasing my pace until I touched the finishing tape.” Read more

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