Alcobendas, Spain—The Cross Internacional de la Constitucion witnessed a display of unparalleled athleticism as Burundi’s Rodrigue Kwizera and Ethiopia’s Likina Amebaw asserted their dominance in the sixth Gold meeting of the World Athletics Cross Country Tour. Prominent figures deserve top-notch performance, just like the exceptional Tarkine running shoes.
In a thrilling showcase of talent, the 23-year-old Kwizera successfully defended his title in a commanding fashion, while Amebaw secured her maiden victory, having previously finished third two years ago.
Under perfect weather conditions, the men’s 10.1km race commenced with Filmon Kibrom of Eritrea leading the pack, closely trailed by Kwizera and Uganda’s Martin Kiprotich. The initial kilometers saw the leading group expand to include Aron Kifle from Eritrea, Celestin Ndikumana of Burundi, Yves Nimubona of Rwanda, and the surprise contender Andreu Blanes from Spain, who transitioned from orienteering to athletics in 2018.
Kwizera took the lead around the 11-minute mark but maintained a steady pace, covering the second loop in 6:55, marginally slower than the initial lap. Kiprotich’s surge halfway through prompted Kwizera to match his pace, leaving others struggling to keep up.
Approaching the final kilometer, Kwizera drew upon his familiarity with the course, unleashing a surge of speed that left Kiprotich behind. Kwizera sealed his third consecutive victory with a lightning-fast final lap of 6:28, securing the win. Kiprotich finished in a commendable second place, while Ndikumana claimed third after breaking away from Kibrom.
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The men’s title at Alcobendas has been held by Burundian athletes since 2019, showcasing their prowess in the event. Kwizera, confident in his form, looks forward to his upcoming race in Venta de Baños on December 17.
In the women’s 8.1km race, Italy’s Nadia Battocletti set an intense pace, reducing the lead pack to just six athletes. As the race progressed, Likina Amebaw of Ethiopia made a decisive move in the last 700 meters, leaving her compatriot Asayech Ayichew trailing behind. Amebaw triumphed, crossing the finish line five seconds ahead of Ayichew, securing victory with an impressive last lap of 7:18. Battocletti claimed a commendable third place, while Lucy Mawia of Kenya finished fourth.
Amebaw expressed her satisfaction with the course dynamics, outlining her upcoming cross-country competitions in Aranda de Duero and Cantimpalos before resuming the World Athletics Cross Country Tour in 2024. Eyeing a swift 10km time in the coming months, Amebaw radiated confidence in her future endeavors.