Ethiopia’s world cross sweep usurped by Uganda and their dominating performance in the men’s senior race

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© Copyright – 2019 – Athletics Illustrated

The 2019 IAAF World Cross Country Championships took place Saturday in Aarhus, Denmark reigning in a new era for cross-country with tougher courses and a more festival-like atmosphere.

In the senior men’s race, Uganda dominated with finishers going 1, 2, 7 and 10. It was carnage.

In a shocker, Kenya failed to win any of the team events. Ethiopia won four of the five.

The day started off with the mixed relay. Ten nations toed the starting line. Canada fielded a team consisting of Kevin Robertson, Regan Yee, Erica Digby and Justin Kent.

Ethiopia won the race finishing in the accumulated time of 25:49. Morocco was second, while pre-race favourite Kenya finished third. China was disqualified. Kenya has won the most medals in world cross-country history with 316 and the most team golds with 85. Ethiopia is not too far behind with 264 – entering the 2019 event. Ethiopia came into the event with 48.

Canada finished seventh in the time of 27:57.

Twenty-one-year-old Robertson, with the University of Montreal, who specializes in the 1500-metre distance, owns a personal best of 3:42.50 set last July in Quebec.

Yee, Digby and Kent are from Greater Vancouver.

Kent, age 26 now focusses more on the 5,000-metre distance and has run as fast as 13:53.32. Yee continues to show strength in both the 1500m and 5,000m and Digby, the senior member of the team at 29 bring depth and experience with her bests of 15:53.49 over 5,000m and 4:11.02 in the metric mile.

Athletes in the mixed relay covered the 2K loop course once each, which included running over the Moesgaard Museum.

Like an efficient European clock, the second race, the U20 women’s competition went at 11:35 am; just six minutes after the last runner crossed the line in the mixed relays.

The usual suspects won the team events with Ethiopia again prevailing; Kenya finished second and Japan finishing third. Canada punched above its weight and was rewarded with a sixth-place team finish. It was a strong performance as they beat out typically stronger teams in Great Britain, Australia, Morocco, U.S.A, and New Zealand.

Beatrice Chebet of Kenya won the race in the time of 20:50. She finished in a virtual three-way tie with Alemitu Tariku of Ethiopia, and third place finisher Ethiopian Tsigie Gebreselama. They were credited with the same time.

The top Canadians were Kelowna’s Taryn O’Neill who crossed the line in the time of 22:45. One second back was teammate Makenna Fitzgerald. Just four seconds back Anne Forsyth counted as the third finisher for Canada. Another 10 seconds back was Charlotte Wood in 40th position. Canada’s fifth athlete was Brogan MacDougall in 23:18 and in 47th position. Canada’s entire team finished with 69 seconds of each other as Maggie Smith finished 66th and is credited with the time of 23:54. There were 102 starters and 100 finishers.

Men’s U20

In the men’s U20 race, again, it was Ethiopia dominating, with the team win. Uganda finished second and Kenya again took third. In the reverse scoring system, they were close with 18, 32 and 34 points respectively.

Canada finished 12 out of 16 teams.

The first two athletes across the line were Ethiopians Milkesa Megesha and Tadese Worku. They finished in the time of 23:52 and 23:54 respectively. Oscar Chelimo of Uganda finished one second back at 23:55 for third.

Canada’s Evan Burke in 41st position, was the top Canadian, crossing the finish line in the time of 26:35.

Andrew Davies (48), Maximus Thiessen (57), Joshua DeSouza (61), Ibrahim Kedir (75) and Nicholas Mota (79) rounded out the Canadian team positions.


Senior Women

In the senior women’s race, it was Ethiopia and Kenya going 1-2 with 21 and 25 points and Uganda third with 36. Canada had a strong performance and finished seventh out of 16 teams.

Hellen Obiri of Kenya won in the time of 36:14, two seconds up on Dera Dida of Ethiopia. Fellow Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey finished third. The top non-East African to finish was Denmark’s Anna Emilie Moller in 37:51. She finished in 15th position – it was an outstanding performance on her part.

The top Canadian was Montreal’s Genevieve Lalonde in 20th overall in what can be described as an elite performance for the 3,000m steeplechase specialist.

She tweeted, “It was a good day. My type of fun, happy to share it with this amazing Canadian team. C’était une superbe journée, je me suis vraiment amusé. Trop contente de le partager avec une formidable équipe canadienne.”

Natasha Wodak (43), Katelyn Ayers (57), Clair Sumner (67), Jessica O’Connell (72) and Natalia Hawthorn (86) rounded out the Canadian finishers from the field of 118 starters and 115 finishers. Curiously, three Eritrean athletes did not start.

Senior men

Uganda usurped an Ethiopian sweep. It was a shuffling of the order of the three same teams as Kenya finished second and Ethiopia third.

Canada finished 16 out of 18 teams.

The top two finishers were Ugandans Joshua Cheptegei and Jocab Kiplimo. The third-place finisher was Geoffrey Kamworor. The three finished in 31:40, 31:44 and 31:55 respectively. The three-time world half-marathon champion and entered Aarhus as the two-time world cross defending champion.

Ben Preisner finished as first Canadian in 77th position and in the time of 35:01. Rory Linkletter (82), Yves Sikubwabo (91), Ehab El-Sandali (97), John Gay (102), Mike Tate (108) round out Team Canada’s finish order. One-hundred and 40 athletes finished, one did not finish and three more did not start.

Full results: https://www.iaaf.org/competitions/iaaf-world-cross-country-championships/iaaf-world-cross-country-championships-aarhus-6265