Rahel Daniel claims Campaccio victory (© Giancarlo Colombo)
Kenya’s Gideon Rono and Eritrea’s Rahel Daniel will be aiming to notch up another victory in a World Athletics Cross Country Tour Gold meeting when they line up at the Cross Cup in Hannut on Sunday (22).
Rono won last Sunday’s Cinque Mulini race in San Vittore Olona, Italy, and will be only too happy to extend his winning streak. Daniel, meanwhile, won at Campaccio in San Giorgio su Legnano and followed it two days later with victory in Elgoibar. The honours list in Hannut could provide extra motivation with the likes of Conseslus Kipruto, Florence Kiplagat, Vincent Rousseau and Benita Willis as former winners.
Rono, who will turn 20 next month, is a precocious talent and won in San Vittore Olona by a comfortable six-second margin. But victory in Hannut will not come easy as he’ll face compatriot Levy Kibet, who finished third overall in last year's World Athletics Cross Country Tour.
Kibet – the 2021 world U20 5000m bronze medallist – is also still a teenager, but achieved podium finishes in all five of his international cross-country races last year.
Isaac Kimeli represents Belgium’s best hope of a podium finish on Sunday. He earned bronze at the European Cross Country Championships in Turin last month and will be keen to showcase his strength on home soil.
Yann Schrub, the Frenchman who earned a surprise bronze in the 10,000m at the European Championships in Munich last year, is another interesting entrant, along with triathlete Hayden Wilde. The New Zealander earned bronze in that discipline at the Tokyo Olympics and will venture into the long cross on Sunday. Wilde is known as one of the best runners in the triathlon circuit and is only too happy to take on a cross-country run during a lukewarm period for Olympic-distance triathletes.
All eyes will be on Daniel in the women’s race. The 21-year-old won last year’s World Cross Country Tour and is a contender for that victory once again thanks to her recent wins in Campaccio and Elgoibar.
But Hannut may not be a walk in the park for Daniel, as her compatriot Rigbe Tesfamariam is also aiming for a victory. Tesfamariam made it into the top three in last year's tour final standings and is also looking to pick up precious points in Hannuit.
Ethiopia’s Likina Amebaw fell just short of the podium in Hannut last year, but will get another chance to prove herself on Sunday.
They’re not the only podium contenders, though. Pamela Kosgei is a Kenyan rising star who could be a threat to her senior rivals. Poland’s Anna Gosk is a two-time winner at Hannuit, while Sweden's Sarah Lahti won the CrossCup race in Mol, a World Athletics Cross Country Tour Silver meeting, in November and is keen for a strong performance on Sunday after a somewhat disappointing European Championships. Britain's Megan Keith earned U23 silver at the European Cross and could also feature among the lead pack here.
Veerle Bakker of the Netherlands was 10th at the recent European Cross, while Lisa Rooms looks to be the leading Belgian contender.
Organisers for World Athletics