Moen runs away with the title at Ostrava 2011 European Athletics U23 Championships

Norway’s Sondre Norstad Moen captured 10000m gold in a personal best 28:41.66 with a sustained run for home that saw off all challengers, including plucky Italian, Ahmed El Mazoury, who finally had to let the Norwegian go with just two laps remaining. Bronze went to Germany’s Musa Roba-Kinkal.

“It was a slow pace for me, but I felt very comfortable,” said the Norwegian.

“I wanted to start slow and afterwards to push the pace. I´m very happy to set a personal best, but now I´m pretty tired.

“I set my personal best in a slow race but I think I have more in my body, I can run about 28:20,” forecast the winner.

For his part, El Mazoury crossed the line pressing his hands together in gratitude: “I am very happy, it is my first medal on an international championships.

“I believed in myself and I was hoping to get the medal. I called my coach right after the race, because he could not be here.

“He was happy, but he hoped I would win. I will also run 5000m and I hope to get the medal there as well. But for today I will only celebrate this one.”

The bronze medal winner was also pleased with his performance: “I´m very happy with the third place,” said Roba-Kinkal.

“The race was totally different to what I thought it would be. I didn´t like the pace, it was too slow for me.

“I had to push all the time to be faster. This race was very important to me. It´s my season’s best and this was my best race of the season.”

Right from the gun Russian Vyacheslav Shalamov clearly decided that a fast pace was the best option to sort the field out and passed the first 1000m in a steady 2:52.17 with the runners already strung out.

Suddenly with 18 laps still to go Shalamov had opened up a small gap on Roba-Kinkal as he passed 3000m in 8:39.26. In third at this stage was Mazoury while Moen was keeping his powder dry in the chasing pack.

Two laps later, it was Roba’s turn the take the lead but immediately the pace slowed and field bunched. Roba then increased the pace again and the lead group was down to  seven including second-string Russian Roman Pozdyakin and Moen.

13 to go and it was Posdyakin’s turn to go in front, but Roba once again responded and with 10 laps to go was turning the screw before once again relaxing to allow Pozdyaykin to come through.

Quietly progressing, however, was the fastest man in Europe this year, Moen who finally took over control of the race with eight laps to go with only El Mazoury able to  respond.  At this stage the medal places looked settled with Roba a detached third, but well clear of the chasers. It was down to Moen and El Mazoury to fight for gold.

Neither man looked comfortable as they passed the three to go marker, but the Norwegian was still pushing on trying to make it as difficult as possible for the Italian who started to slip behind in the face of the Norwegian’s metronomic 69sec laps.

With two laps to go, a gap suddenly materialised and the Norwegian pressed home his advantage to the line. It was Norway’s third gold in the history of these championships.