It's gold for Kaya – and this time it is Aras

It's gold for Kaya – and this time it is Aras
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Turkey won gold and silver in the men's senior race with Aras Kaya and Polat Kemboi Arikan at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships.

In a repeat performance of their senior women less than an hour earlier in Chia, Aras Kaya and Polat Kemboi Arikan produced a one-two for Turkey in the final race of the SPAR European Cross Country Championships.

European 3000m steeplechase silver medalist Aras won in 27:39 from Arikan, the 2014 champion, in 27:42, with Callum Hawkins in third in 27:49, a bronze-medal run at the forefront of Great Britain winning team gold with 28 points from Spain with 32 and Turkey with 38.

Kaya might not have been the favourite such had been Arikan's glory in the past but his success means he matches his namesake's triumph last year when Ali Kaya won in Hyères.

Arikan could not keep up with Kaya's final push as he stretched away, waving his right hand in celebration as he headed towards the finish line, after a close race where the top three broke away to battle for the medals.

As British team captain Andrew Butchart led from Hawkins in the opening stages, they were determined to take on the main challenge that Turkey had to offer with Spain's Ilias Fifa, who was sixth in 28:19 as their leading man, not far away throughout.

Kaya, 22, had been as far back as 12th as this 10.15km race reached its first marker at 590m and at no point during it was he leading when the split times were recorded.

Sixth at 1090m, he was edging forward all the time – fifth at 2560m, third at 4030m and second at 5500m – Kaya was remaining consistent as the race moved into the second half and reached its business end. He was holding back enough for the last surge and it proved good planning.

"Before the race I told myself to try for the best result, not expecting anything and I did not cooperate with Arikan, so it was an individual race," said Kaya.

Arikan, who was also Euro Cross runner-up in 2013 and this summer won 10,000m European gold in Amsterdam, felt it was a tougher day's work than he had imagined.

"I expected a smoother race and the British team surprised us with their attacks," said Arikan. "Aras was better and he deserves the victory. I did not expect anything, so I am glad for silver."

It was a day to remember for Britain, as Hawkins was followed home by Butchart in fourth (28:01), Andy Vernon in fifth (28:11) and Ben Connor in 16th (28:51) as the scoring athletes.

And it has been a great spell for Hawkins, who was ninth in the Olympic marathon in Rio and has already been selected for the British team for the IAAF World Championships in London in August.

"One year ago I felt a bit frustrated but the last few months are just incredible," said Scotsman Hawkins. "2016 is the year of my life.

"I gave everything into this race. Maybe I was too motivated and pushed it forward a bit too early but I felt strength from the half marathons. The team gold is just amazing, I think we have the strongest team ever. I am really pleased I could run with them."