Report06 Jan 2024

Ebenyo and Niyomukunzi triumph at Campaccio


Daniel Ebenyo at Campaccio (© Quinten Lafort)

Double world silver medallist Daniel Simiu Ebenyo and Burundi’s Francine Niyomukunzi took the honours at the Campaccio, a World Athletics Cross Country Tour Gold meeting, in San Giorgio su Legnano on Saturday (6).

On the first lap, Ebenyo was part of a 10-man lead pack alongside Uganda’s Oscar Chelimo, Burundi’s Celestin Ndikumana, Yves Nimubona and Edide Ntakaturimana, and several of the leading Italian contenders.

Chelimo was the first to attempt an attack, kicking ahead over a hilly part of the course on the second lap, but Ebenyo soon closed the gap. The lead duo opened up a lead over their pursuers on the third lap with Nimubona following a few metres behind in third place ahead of compatriot Ntakaturimana.

Ebenyo and Chelimo continued to run alongside one another until the fifth and final lap. The world 10,000m and half marathon silver medallist increased his pace to open up a lead on Chelimo on the last lap.

The Kenyan finished strongly and crossed the finish line in 29:16, six seconds ahead of Chelimo.

“I’m happy that I won this race over a challenging course,” said Ebenyo after contesting his first cross-country race in Europe. “I knew that I was in good shape after breaking the world 25km best in Kolkata. I really enjoyed this race. The crowd cheered me on along the course, and I hope to return here next year.”

Ebenyo aims to compete at the World Cross Country Championships in Belgrade on 30 March, but first he’ll have to secure his place on the Kenyan team. After that, he will target a fast half marathon clocking in April.

In similar fashion to the men’s contest, the women’s race soon became a two-person affair. Burundi’s Francine Niyomukunzi and Italy’s European cross-country silver medallist Nadia Battocletti were part of a four-woman lead group through the first 2km, covered in 6:54.

Battocletti moved into the lead on the second lap, closely followed by Niyomukunzi, and they went through 4km in 13:25 with a nine-second lead over Giovanna Selva. With one kilometre to go, Niyomukunzi increased her pace and build up a solid lead over Battocletti.

The Burundian finished strongly to win in 19:42, holding off Battocletti by four seconds. Selva finished third in 20:31.

Niyomukunzi, who lives and trains in Italy for most of the year, finished ninth in the 5km at the World Road Running Championships in Riga and improved her PBs in the 3000m, in the 5000m and 10,000m during a successful 2023 season.

“I didn’t think I was going to win,” said Niyomukunzi. “I am very emotional.”

Diego Sampaolo for World Athletics

Leading results

1 Francine Niyomukunzi (BDI) 19:42
2 Nadia Battocletti (ITA) 19:46
3 Giovanna Selva (ITA) 20:31
4 Anna Vindics Toth (HUN) 20:50
5 Rebecca Lonedo (ITA) 21:00
6 Michela Cesarò (ITA) 21:27
7 Sara Nestola (ITA) 21:30
8 Neide Dias (POR) 21:57
9 Adele Roatta (ITA) 22:23

1 Daniel Ebenyo (KEN) 29:16
2 Oscar Chelimo (UGA) 29:22
3 Yves Nimubona (BDI) 29:44
4 Edide Ntakaturimana (BDI) 29:53
5 Celestin Ndikumana (BDI) 29:54
6 Guillaume Grimard (BEL) 30:13
7 Mohamed Jhinaoui (TUN) 30:13
8 Iliass Aouani (ITA) 30:31
9 Pasquale Selvarolo (ITA) 30:39
10 Luca Alfieri (ITA) 30:44
10 Dhahri Rhab (Tunisia) 22:29

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