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Kipchoge takes Lausanne Junior title

Kipchoge a breath of fresh air to Kenyan pride

Avenches Lausanne – After Ethiopia’s successful clean sweep of the three individual titles on day one of the 31st IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Switzerland, and with the knowledge that the Ethiopians claimed all the main individual titles in 2002, a sigh of relief could be heard blowing through the Alps from the Kenyan officials.

The athlete to restore some Kenyan pride was Eliud Kipchoge with a more than powerful sprint finish which captured the men’s junior race, ahead of Boniface Kiprop of Kipchoge 2003Uganda.

Kipchoge’s victory was a hard fought one against the Ugandan pre-race favourite, who had shown impressive form in the build-up to these Championships. The opening kilometre of 2:39, proved to be as killing as the senior men’s race, however the closing speed of 2:38 over the last kilometer was more than impressive. Kipchoge maintained control over the race from the gun and was always on hand throughout to see that a sustained pace was maintained. This is what made his blistering pace over the last 200m even more impressive.

To have been handy for all of the race at the head of affairs, and then still to have sufficient in the tank for a sprint, is simply awesome. On this performance we can watch with interest as he moves to the Senior ranks in 2004. The two men before him, Kenenisa Bekele and Gebre Gebremariam have certainly underlined the merit of the Junior title, as indicator to the future, over the last 2 years

yet again the race proved to be a display of East African supremacy with the initial pack of 12 coming from these two running powerhouses of World XCountry. But then, Uganda is pretty close as well.

Going into the final lap, Kipchoge was still surrounded by a mass of ‘wannabe’ winners, however Eluid was not going to make this a Sunday afternoon stroll in the Equestrian park, and he begun to apply the pressure in the most relentless manner of power running.

With 500m to go, amazingly there were still 5 athletes in contention, however with 200m to go, Kipchoge delivered his final blow with devastating effectiveness. The blistering pace over the final run in spread the others into single file, with the Kenyan taking the honours.

In the team event Kenya claimed Gold to Ethiopia’s silver, with the Ugandians taking deserved bronze after Kiprop’s handily placed 2nd position set them up for their team medal.

In terms of non African domination, the first non-African was 23rd overall, a situation which does not auger well for the future.

Junior men’s results
1 Kipchoge KEN 22:47
2 Kiprop UGA 22:49
3 Bushendich KEN 22:51
4 Choge KEN 22:55
5 Assefa ETH 22:58
6 Dinku ETH 23:10
7 Mosop KEN 23:17
8 Absher ETH 23:22
9 Molla ETH 23:27
10 Kosgei KEN 23:45
11 Woyesha ETH 24:03
12 Chepkwony K 24:06
13 Kibet UGA 24:10
14 Tesfai ERI 24:11
15 Mengistu ETH 24:12
16 Abraham ERI 24:14
17 Mandour MAR 24:15
18 Kipsiro UGA 24:17
19 Dhame MAR 24:26
20 Athamna ALG 24:29

1. Kenya, 18 points.
2. Ethiopia, 24.
3. Morocco, 61.
4. Russia, 79.
5. Australia, 96.

View the reports to get a feel of the 2003 Championships:

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