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Dibaba takes Lausanne Junior title

Avenches Lausanne, Switzerland – Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba waited till the last 200m before she unleashed her finishing attempt. Her devastating attack carried her to victory in the women’s junior race setting the tone for her country’s success on the first day of the 31st World Cross Country Championships.

Tirunesh Dibaba 2003Peninah Chepchumba of Kenya improved on her fifth place of 2002. The Kenyan gave herself every chance of victory by making her intentions known from the start of this event. With this being the first race of the weekend’s events, the East African rivals, Kenya and Ethiopia, continued from where they left off. At the head of affairs.

Chepchumba formed a formidable two pronged attack with her compatriot and Jepchumba Koech, who pushed the pace with devastating effect. Buried in the pack was last year’s silver medalist Dibaba, and she was content to bide her time awaiting her chance to pounce upon her unsuspecting foe.

The contrasting styles of Kenya and Ethiopia were evident, with the Kenyans happy to provide the tempo and the Ethiopians content to be passengers. Chepchumba was not going to make this an easy ride for rest, as she continued to increase the pace with every stride. This effort was shredding the lead pack of all the green vests, except one, that of Dibaba.

With 500m to go, Chepchumba gave it a final go, however Didaba clung to her heels ‘doggedly’ , and then with 150m to go, the Ethiopian came from passenger to driver. She burst clear for home and grasped her victory from the claws of the Kenyan. Chepchumba certainly deserved more, maybe. However, the spoils of vitory go to the winner.

Second place Chepchumba was barely a second behind in 20:22, with Gelete Burka in 3rd a further 6 seconds back. With the Ethiopians Melkamu in fourth (20:33) and Eligu in sixth (20:56), the team title went to Ethiopia with 14 points, against the defending champions Kenya 22 points. A blow to Kenyan pride.

Race One to Ethiopia.

Women’s results
1 Dibaba ETH 20:21
2 Chepchumba K 20:22
3 Burika ETH 20:28
4 Melkamu ETH 20:33
5 Chebet KEN 20:39
6 Ejigu ETH 20:56
7 Chemweno KEN 21:09
8 Kwizera BDI 21:13
9 Rionotukei KEN 21:33
10 Koech KEN 21:34
11 Kipsang KEN 21:40
12 Aliyu ETH 21:49
13 Alaoui MAR 21:54
14 Dale GBR 21:56
15 Sultan ERI 22:11
16 van Blerk RSA 22:17
17 Nyabamikazi R 22:18
18 Fikadu ETH 22:31
19 Hilali MAR 22:32
20 Hastings USA 22:34

1. Ethiopia 14 points.
2. Kenya, 22.
3. Morocco, 78.
4. United States 82 .
5. Great Britain, 82.

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

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