Kaya is the king for fourth European gold of the year

Kaya is the king for fourth European gold of the year
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Turkey's Ali Kaya dominated the men's senior race in Hyères on Sunday, completing the 10.11km in a blistering time of 29.20.

The last race of the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Hyères was the longest and toughest, taking in the long loop four times.

Not that any of those difficulties seemed to trouble the sensational Turkish star Ali Kaya, who moved from silver last year to gold this time with a wonderful display as he rubber-stamped his distance-running dominance.

Races of this standard are normally close affairs, but by 3km Kaya was all out on his own.

Surely there was no way he could maintain this speed, pace and ease in style he was showing for another seven kilometres?

But he was playing the event to how he wanted. He slowed down, which saw Spain’s 2009 and 2013 champion Alemayehu Bezabeh come back to him and the pair ran together.

Yet as Bezabeh might have been running close to his best, Kaya had a wealth of reserves.

It was not over-confidence, but confirmation of his success and his position within European distance running as he won in 29:20 from Bezabeh (29:31) who, amazingly, was the first of four Spanish runners.

Adel Mechaal (29:51) was third, Ayad Lamdassem (29:57) was fourth and Illias Fifa (30:02) was fifth.

Spain took the team gold with just 14 points from France with 35 and Great Britain with 78. The fact Britain took third here meant everyone of their 36 athletes won a medal as they made the podium in all six of the events, let alone their individual winners.

In Samokov, Kaya was so close to gold, just behind teammate Polat Kemboi Arikan in the same time of 32:19.

Arikan returned today but it was not his afternoon and he did not finish.

But Kaya now goes into the busy 2016 with such success behind him from this year, where he won the 3000m at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Prague in March and then achieved a sensational 5000m/10,000m double at the European Athletics U23 Championships in July.

"I am very happy because I finished second last year and it was important for me to win today," said Kaya. "I planned to kick in the final lap and that's exactly what I did. I was ready for it as I knew I had the speed."

Mechaal thrived on taking bronze in a great race for his country as he had enough left to beat his teammates along the home straight.

"I knew I had a good chance to beat them because I have run against them many times," he said. "Today it was my opportunity to win a medal."

Florian Carvalho completed a fine championships for France as his sixth in 30:06 led them to team silver.

Spain won the men's senior team title with four athletes finishing in the top five as they combined for 16 points.
Spain won the men's senior team title with four athletes finishing in the top five as they combined for 16 points.