Report25 Feb 2024

Ndikumwenayo and Amebaw triumph in Albufeira


Thierry Ndikumwenayo wins the Almond Blossom Cross Country in Albufeira (© Organisers)

Spain’s Thierry Ndikumwenayo and Ethiopia’s Likina Amebaw were victorious at the Cross Internacional das Amendoeiras em Flor – the final World Athletics Cross Country Tour Gold meeting of the season – in Albufeira on Sunday (25).

Ndikumwenayo won the men’s contest in a close finish from Uganda’s Oscar Chelimo and Burundi’s Rodrigue Kwizera, while Amebaw won the women’s race by more than 30 seconds.

Ndikumwenayo bided his time at the back of the lead group for most of the way. Mehdi Frere of France led the pack through the first lap, while Kwizera and Chelimo held a joint lead through the second lap, by which time the group was down to seven men.

Chelimo, the 2022 world 5000m bronze medallist, and Kwizera continued to control the pace through the second half. With about eight minutes of running left, the pack had been reduced to four men: Chelimo, Kwizera, Ndikumwenayo and Edward Zakayo.

Zakayo, the 2018 world U20 5000m champion, drifted out of contention on the fifth and final lap, while the other three contenders remained locked in a battle until the end.

In the sprint for the finish line, Ndikumwenayo emerged the winner in 27:18, finishing one second ahead of Chelimo and Kwizera.

In the women’s race, Amebaw ran with the large lead pack for the first three laps before forging ahead to win by a comfortable margin.

Burundi’s Francine Niyomukunzi and Turkiye’s Sultan Haydar shared the leading duties for the first half, pacing the field through the first two laps in 12:20. After the third lap was covered in 18:42, Amebaw started to carve out a lead of her own.

She went through the 6.7km checkpoint with a 15-second lead over Niyomukunzi, and that had grown to 28 seconds by the end of the fourth lap. After coasting around the fifth and final lap, Amebaw crossed the finish line in 30:45.

Niyomukunzi placed second in 31:17 and Ethiopian youngster Asmarech Anley was third in 31:19.

Leading results

Women (9.13km)
1 Likina Amebaw (ETH) 30:45
2 Francine Niyomukunzi (BDI) 31:17
3 Asmarech Anley (ETH) 31:19
4 Atalu Zelalem (ETH) 31:21
5 Sultan Haydar (TUR) 31:28
6 Mariana Machado (POR) 31:50

Men (9.13km)
1 Thierry Ndikumwenayo (ESP) 27:18
2 Oscar Chelimo (UGA) 27:19
3 Rodrigue Kwizera (BDI) 27:19
4 Edward Zakayo (KEN) 27:31
5 Isaac Kimeli (BEL) 27:49
6 Frere Mehdi (FRA) 27:50

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