36th Cross International De Italica (Sevilla) - A Recap
The 36th Edition of the Cross International De Italica Cross Country Championships event in Sevilla, Spain saw Uganda’s star athletes shine again with a 1-2 podium finish led by Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo. Joel Ayeko, the other Ugandan at the race finished 5th in a time of 41:16
Joshua Cheptegei, 21 led the pack and crossed the finish line in 1st position in a time of 30:35. His countryman, Jacob Kiplimo, 18 followed and captured 2nd position in a time of 30:36. Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega followed in 3rd in a time of 31:48, marking prime history for the Ethiopian as it was the first time he was losing a cross country race.
Cheptegei carried on his form on and off track since November 2017 when he attempted to break the 15km World record in that race at the Seven Hills Race in Nijmegen, the Netherlands and setting a new personal best of 27:28 at the Durban 10K Surf run.
Joshua Cheptegei became the 2nd Ugandan to win this race after Moses Kipsiro (2008 and 2009). “I wasn’t sure if I would win today because I last competed in mid-November (when he fell just three seconds short of the world 15km best) and I really didn’t know how I was going to feel in my opening cross-country race of the season. Luckily I felt strong and managed to succeed.”
The female event on the other hand was won by Kenya’s Agnes Jebet Tirop in a time of 25:51. The Kenya women went further and showed their pros by finishing and clinching 1-2-3 podium finishes. Lillian Kasait – 2nd and Hellen Obiri – 3rd were the other Kenyans.
The 36th Cross International De Italica attracted over 400 athletes mainly sponsored by the Antonio Serrano foundation. IAAF President, Lord Sebastian Coe was among the participants.