Gebre eases to back-to-back titles in Amorebieta

Trihas Gebre

Spain's Trihas Gebre successfully defended her title at the Cross Internacional Zornotza in Amorebieta on Sunday

Trihas Gebre opened her year with a commanding victory on home soil at the Cross Internacional Zornotza in Amorebieta, a European Athletics Cross Country Permit Meeting, on Sunday (6).

Twelfth at the recent SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Tilburg, Gebre broke away from her domestic rivals after the completion of the first lap of the senior women’s 8.7km, opening up a winning margin of 52 seconds on her nearest challenger.

Gebre’s title defence went largely untested as she won in 30:36 ahead of her Atletismo Bilbao club-mate Elena Loyo (31:28) with last year’s fourth-placer Maitane Melero improving to third in 31:30.

The senior men’s 10.7km was a much more closely contested affair between two athletes who are still eligible to contest the U20 race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark in March.

World U20 5000m silver medallist Stanley Waithaka from Kenya got the better of Uganda’s Oscar Chelimo in a sprint finish with the top two both timed at 31:58 ahead of third-placer and fellow Kenyan Solomon Boit in 32:03.

Former European U20 cross country champion Jeroen d’Hoedt from Belgium was a distant fourth in 32:57 while 19-year-old Ouassim Oumaiz, who won silver behind Jakob Ingebrigtsen in the U20 race in Tilburg last month, was the leading Spaniard on his senior debut in fifth in 32:58.

Oumaiz, whose main goal in 2019 is the European Athletics U23 Championships in Gavle this July, took the scalps of some well-known Spanish internationals, including Juan Antonio Perez in seventh (33:07), Fernando Carro in eighth (33:14) and Ayad Lamdassem in 13th (33:43).

There was also a victory for three-time European cross country champion Yasemin Can from Turkey at the prestigious Campaccio Cross Country in San Giorgio su Legnano, Italy on Sunday.

Can, who won by one second in Tilburg last month, ran out victorious by 16 seconds, winning the senior women’s 6km in 19:21 from Ethiopia’s Silenat Ysmaw.

European 10,000m champion Lonah Chemtai Salpeter from Israel was fourth in 19:58 while recently crowned U20 champion from Tilburg Nadia Battocletti, who is still a junior, was sixth in 20:51.