Moreira seals European 10,000m Cup hat-trick

Sara Moreira en route to European 10,000m Cup gold
European Athletics

Portugal's Sara Moreira claimed her third title at the European 10,000m Cup in Minsk

With a turn of speed her rivals could not match, Portugal’s Sara Moreira won the women’s race for the third time at the European 10,000m Cup in Minsk on Saturday (10) while Antonio Abadia led a Spanish clean sweep in the men's race.

But there was equal delight for the host nation as their women took team gold. Olympic marathon fifth-placer Volha Mazuronak led the way, finishing second individually on a day to remember for the country. 

For Moreira, there was the additional satisfaction of this triumph coming with a greater margin of victory than in her two previous wins in the event. It also marked her return to top form after a stress fracture forced her to drop out of the Olympic Games marathon last summer. 

Moreira is accustomed to winning European gold with this success her second major win in less than a year after claiming the inaugural half marathon title at last summer’s European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam. 

She has such versatility and under blue skies on a glorious afternoon in the Belarusian capital, Moreira won in 32:03.57 from Mazuronak - a former race walker - in 32:13.73 with reigning champion Esma Aydemir from Turkey third in 32:41.03. German veteran Sabrina Mockenhaupt finished fourth in 32:46.37. 

The champion in 2011 and 2012, Moreira’s successes came with winning margins of five and nine seconds respectively and by winning by over ten seconds this time, she showed her authority when there is a big prize at stake. 

This event is always one of the most eagerly awaited individual races on the European calendar due to the high quality fields it attracts ahead of the summer’s championships, with the chance to land an early sucker punch in the outdoor season. For Moreira, her next goal will be the World Championships in London this August. 

Moreira’s teammates Carla Salome Rocha (33:10.43) and Daniela Cunha (34:28.84) were seventh and 15th respectively. Ines Monteiro, a double winner of the event, did not finish while Jessica Augusto was a late withdrawal. 

Mazuronak was backed up well by her teammates with Sviatlana Kudzelich (32:48.62) and Nastassia Ivanova (32:54.98) finishing fifth and sixth respectively which brought them team gold ahead of Portugal and Ukraine.

Abadia leads a Spanish clean sweep in Minsk

Antonio Abadia won an individual bronze medal at the European Championships in Amsterdam last summer but the 26-year-old will leave Minsk with two gold medals in his pocket after winning the individual and team titles at the European 10,000m Cup. 

In his last international appearance, Abadia placed eleventh at the European Cross Country Championships in Chia last December in a race won by Turkey’s Aras Kaya. Their paths crossed again in Minsk but Abadia turned the tables on the Kaya - the pre-race favourite with a lifetime best of 27:48.53 - with victory in 28:31.16 with Kaya fourth in 29:03.13.

Spain arrived in the Belarusian capital with a strong team on paper and so it played it out on race day as Abadia - who boasts 3:37.24 1500m pace - pulled away from compatriot Juan Perez on the last lap.

Perez was safe in the silver medal position in 28:35.69 while Carlos Mayo - who ran the latter stages in isolation - finishing third in a lifetime best of 28:48.41 to ensure a Spanish clean sweep for the first time in event history. 

Mayo claimed his first senior individual medal in Minsk but the 21-year-old is no stranger to success at continental level. Mayo has already won three individual silver medals at U23 and U20 level at the European Cross Country Championships along with a bronze medal over 5000m at the 2015 European U23 Championships. 

Behind Spain, the Italian team led by Stefano La Rosa in fifth in 29:08.05 won team silver while Ukraine claimed team bronze ahead of Turkey and Belarus in fourth and fifth respectively.

 

 

Local Organising Committee