Previews09 Nov 2023

Amebaw and Keter face tough opposition in Cardiff


Likina Amebaw in action

Kenya’s Vincent Keter and Ethiopia’s Likina Amebaw lead strong international fields for the Cardiff Cross Challenge – a World Athletics Cross Country Tour Gold event – on Saturday (11).

The races – 9.6km for men and 6.4km for women – take place on a relatively flat and winding course at Llandaff Fields, near the centre of the Welsh capital.

Keter, the 2021 world U20 1500m champion, has a PB of 3:31.28 for his specialist track discipline, but this weekend’s event will be one of the longest races he has ever contested.

He’ll be joined by compatriot Vincent Mutai, winner of the Cardiff Half Marathon in October and at the Athletics Kenya Cross Country event in Machakos two weeks later.

Burundi’s Egide Ntakarutimana, a 13:03.83 performer over 5000m, was the winner of the Cross Della Vallagarina in February and will be a real threat in Cardiff.

Uganda’s Keneth Kiprop was sixth in the U20 race at the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst in February, and more recently he placed 15th in the road mile at the World Road Running Championships last month.

Denmark’s 2021 European U20 5000m champion Joel Ibler Lillesø made waves last year when he broke Jakob Ingebrigtsen’s European U20 indoor 3000m record with 7:48.34. The 19-year-old also won the senior Danish cross-country title last year, so is proficient on this terrain.

Yves Nimubona of Rwanda, Fabien Palcau of France and Ethiopian duo Abele Bekele Alemu and Yohanes Asmare, the recent Northern Ireland International Cross Country winner, will add further international interest.

World indoor 3000m bronze medallist Marc Scott, winner in Cardiff in 2019, will return to the Welsh capital on Saturday. But compatriot Zak Mahamed appears to be the leading Brit heading into the race, following his recent victory at the Great South Run.

Past Cardiff winner Dewi Griffiths and 3:31.30 1500m performer Matt Stonier are among the other leading British entrants.

Ethiopia’s Likina Amebaw, winner of this year’s Cross Country Tour Gold meetings in Albufeira and Amorebieta, will be one of the leading contenders in Cardiff. She recently finished fourth in Atapuerca, despite struggling with stomach pains, so Saturday’s race will be an opportunity to bounce back.

Burundi’s Francine Niyomukunzi won the Cross Della Vallagrina earlier this year and more recently finished ninth over 5km at the World Road Running Championships in Riga.

Rising Ethiopian talents Asmarech Anley and Meseret Yeshaneh are also in the line-up. Yeshaneh is the world U20 steeplechase bronze medallist, while Anley took 3000m gold and 5000m bronze at this year’s African U20 Championships.

Jessica Warner-Judd, winner in Cardiff in 2017, is the leading British entrant. She placed eighth in the 10,000m at the World Championships in Budapest and followed it with a 14:51.53 PB over 5000m in Brussels.

European U23 5000m champion Megan Keith finished fifth at the recent Cross Internacional de Atapuerca and will be hopeful of another top-five finish in Cardiff. Fellow British internationals Steph Twell, Jenny Nesbitt and Cari Hughes are also in the line-up.

Other international athletes in the field include seven-time Hungarian champion Lili Anna Vindics-Toth and multiple European U20 medallist Sofia Thogersen of Denmark.

Holly Archer, the 2021 European indoor 1500m silver medallist, is the standout entrant in the elite mile event.

The Cardiff Cross Challenge will be live streamed on the British Athletics YouTube channel.

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