La Barbera ends four-year wait | 15.01.2013
|Silvia La Barbera gave the home supporters
plenty to cheer about when she became the first
Italian runner in four-years to win the Vallagarina
Cross Country meeting in Rovereto. (Photo by
And it was a thrilling finish, too, as Silvia La Barbera fended off the challenge of Valeria Roffino to triumph over the 6km distance at the European Athletics Cross Country permit meeting.
Not since Federica Dai Rui won in 2009 in 19:17.1 has an Italian finished first here but La Barbera ended that run with a fine performance for victory by three seconds in22:44.
It turned into quite a day for the Italian women as they took the first five places.
Agnes Tschurtschenthaler was third in 28:07 followed by Layla Soufyane, in23:23, and Renate Rungger in 23:49.
But it was the power and speed of La Barbera in those closing stages that proved crucial as she held on for a superb win in this European Athletics Permit event.
The men's race brought further confirmation of one of the new stars of the sport.
Muktar Edris is the latest sensation to emerge from Ethiopia and he began the celebrations for his 19th birthday - which was on Monday - in style with victory of 9km 24 hours before.
In Barcelona last summer, Edris won the 5000m title at the World Junior Championships. He is the African junior cross country champion and expects him to make an impact at the World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz in March.He followed up his victory in San Giorgio su Legnano the previous week by leading from the start and securing a huge win in 26:43.
He will now prepare for Bydgoszcz and said: "I ran my final race in Europe before returning to Ethiopia to prepare for the World Cross Country Championships. It was an easy race."
But the clash for second place was dramatic with Italian Stefano La Rosa overtaking the nine-times European champion Sergey Lebid before the Ukrainian found another gear.
It was impossible to predict who would finish ahead with La Rosa just edging it, even though both men were given the same time of 27:25.
Click here for complete results.