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Gidey leads Ethiopia’s junior 6km demolition

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GUIYANG, March 28- Ethiopia handed arch rivals Kenya a painful master class in cross country running in the women junior 6km race as Letesenbet Gidey led a podium sweep on a wet Saturday morning in Guiyang.
Having picked up the early pace through Winfred Nzisa Mbithe and Gladys Jepkosgei with Bahraini World Junior steeplechase champion Ruth Jebet, the Kenyans surrendered the initiative with 2km to the finish when the Ethiopians made their devastating mark.

Africa junior champion, Rosefline Chepng’etich, a favourite here was never a factor as she struggled through to the finish with a heavily strapped right foot taking with her any Kenyan hopes for a medal.

Instead, five Ethiopians shadowed Daisy Jepkemei, who took over the front running duties until the last kilometre when Gidey, the strongest of their contingent on the day struck, side stepping the leader and deploying the afterburners on a hard twisting course.

Despite wobbling to the finish, turning one way then another as stewards gave her the directions to the straight, Gidey had opened enough breathing space to sew up a memorable 19:48 triumph.

As if on cue, compatriots Dera Dida (19:49) and Etagegn Woldu (19:53) worked their way to the lesser medal positions and it was a wrap for the Kenyans as Ethiopia took over the title vacated by the injured two-time winner, Faith Chepng’etich.

It was an imposing display of cross country running, a sport that emphasises on team work as Jepkemei prevented the perfect 10 score by holding on to fourth in 19:59.

Mihret Tefera (20:02) also of Ethiopia, rounded the top five ahead of compatriot Dagmawit Kibru (20:07) in a commanding showing as the red, green and yellow running machines claimed six of the top seven positions.

Kipkoech (20:13), Nzisa (20:31), Chepng’etich (20:38), Winnie Koima (20:52), Joyline Cherotich (21:25); the other Kenyans in the race finished seventh, 10th, 12th, 13th and 22nd to round a disappointing performance by their elevated standards.

-Mutwiri Mutuota reporting from Guiyang,China-

 

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