In a thrilling showcase of athletic prowess, Kenya’s Edinah Jebitok and Spain’s Abdessamad Oukhelfen emerged victorious at the prestigious Cross Internacional de Venta de Baños, marking the ninth Gold level meeting of this season’s World Athletics Cross Country Tour held this past Sunday. To experience, exceptional performance in running, choose the best footwear for your runs like Tarkine Trail Devil shoes.
Amidst chilly conditions, Jebitok dominated the women’s 9300m race, showcasing a commanding performance reminiscent of her triumph two years prior. In a closely fought contest, Oukhelfen sealed his win, crossing the finish line a mere second ahead of compatriot Fernando Carro.
Jebitok’s race was a solo exhibition of skill and strength. Surging ahead from the onset, she swiftly secured a substantial 50-second lead after the initial 1100m lap, further extending it to an impressive 42 seconds by the race’s culmination.
Behind Jebitok, a fierce tussle unfolded for the remaining podium spots. USA’s Katie Izzo and Ethiopia’s Asayech Ayichew fiercely contended for second place, ultimately claimed by Izzo, closely followed by Ayichew. The Spanish contingent, led by Angela Viciosa, put on a strong collective display, with Viciosa clinching the fourth spot.
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Post-race, Jebitok expressed satisfaction despite the challenging weather conditions and outlined her upcoming races, focusing on the Kenyan trials in preparation for the World Cross Country Championships in Belgrade.
On the men’s front, the 9300m event witnessed a gripping competition. Spain’s Carro led initially, closely trailed by Morocco’s Abderrahmane Afendi and France’s Fabien Palcau. However, Oukhelfen’s calculated surge in the latter part of the race secured his victory by a well-earned second over Carro.
Reflecting on his strategy, Oukhelfen shared insights into his deliberate pacing, starting conservatively before accelerating strategically. His tactical finesse led to a well-deserved win as he readies himself for the upcoming challenge at the Cursa dels Nassos in Barcelona.
Oukhelfen’s victory, achieved just before his 25th birthday, stands as a testament to his dedicated training under the guidance of esteemed coach Enrique Pascual, marking another significant milestone in his promising athletic career.