Previews05 Jan 2022

Seyaum takes on Chebet at Campaccio in San Giorgio su Legnano


Ethiopian distance runner Dawit Seyaum (© AFP / Getty Images)

Ethiopia’s Dawit Seyaum will clash with Kenya’s Beatrice Chebet at the 65th edition of Campaccio in San Giorgio su Legnano on Thursday (6), the eighth Gold level meeting of this season’s World Athletics Cross Country Tour.

Seyaum is looking to continue her impressive period of form after winning the Boclassic 5km road race in Bolzano with a course record of 15:22. In Lille seven weeks prior, the 1500m specialist clocked 14:39 for 5km, one of the fastest performances in history.

Chebet will be aiming to win her first World Cross Country Tour Gold race of the season after finishing second in Atapuerca and third at the Cross Italica in Seville. The 21-year-old won the world U20 5000m title in Tampere in 2018 and the world U20 cross-country title in Aarhus in 2019. Last year she beat a high-quality field to win the 3000m at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Doha in 8:27.49.

Chebet will renew her rivalry with Eritrea’s Rahel Ghebreyohannes Daniel, who won in Atapuerca by one second.

The top Italian athlete in the field is Nadia Battocletti, who won the European U23 cross-country title in Dublin last month. The 21-year-old crowned a successful 2021 campaign in which she finished seventh in the Olympic 5000m final in 14:46.29, just two seconds shy of the Italian record. Last week Battocletti finished third at the Boclassic 5km race behind Seyaum and Norah Jeruto.

Kenya’s Eva Cherono and Lucy Mawia Muli, winners of the World Cross Country Tour Gold races in Alcobendas and Soria respectively, should also be in contention, as should Ethiopia’s Belayneh Pantaye, who clocked 14:44.51 for 5000m last year.

Others in the field include Slovenia’s Klara Lukan, Poland’s European U23 steeplechase silver medallist Kinga Krolik, Italy’s European U23 10,000m silver medallist Anna Arnaudo and Giovanna Selva.

Two months after finishing third at the New York City marathon, Italian marathon record-holder Eyob Faniel will start his 2022 campaign as one of the favourites in the men’s race.

Faniel, who became the first Italian runner to reach the New York Marathon podium since Stefano Baldini in 1997, broke Baldini’s Italian record in Seville last year, clocking 2:07:19. He finished fourth at the 2021 edition of Campaccio and set an Italian half marathon record of 1:00:07 in Ampugnano last year.

The other top Italian athlete in the field is Iliass Aouani, a national champion at cross country, 10,000m and 10km on the roads.

But both Italians will have to be at their best to beat Eritrea’s Aaron Kifle, who earned bronze at the 2018 World Half Marathon Championships and finished fourth at the 2019 World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus.

Others to look out for include Kenya’s world U20 steeplechase champion Amos Serem, World U20 Championships 5000m fourth-place finisher Yehune Addisu of Ethiopia, Eritrea’s Awet Habte, European steeplechase bronze medallist Yohannes Chiappinelli, emerging Italian runner Dario De Caro, Mohamed Amin Jhinaoui from Tunisia, and Kenyan duo Vincent Kipkurui Too and Emmanuel Kipkorir Kiplagat.

The list of past Campaccio winners includes the likes of Grete Waitz (1982), Haile Gebrselassie (1994), Paul Tergat (1997), Paula Radcliffe (2002), Kenenisa Bekele (2002 and 2004), Sergiy Lebid (2003 and 2005), Eliud Kipchoge (2009), Muktar Edris (2013 and 2017), Hellen Obiri (2017) and Jacob Kiplimo (2021).

The 2022 edition of the famous Italian race will honour the memory of 1973 world cross-country champion Paola Pigni, who died last June, and Agnes Tirop, who finished third in 2017 and second in 2018 in San Giorgio su Legnano and tragically died last October.

Diego Sampaolo for World Athletics

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