Isiah Koech from Kenya wins in Brussels (© Nadia Verhoft)
Brussels, BelgiumIsiah Koech from Kenya produced a demonstrating win at the IAAF Cross Country Permit Meeting in Brussels today (18).
Before the halfway mark the 18-year-old Kenyan broke away from a leading group of three to win the race with a massive advance. Caroline Chepkwony from Kenya used her tactics and her finishing speed to win the women’s competition.
Koech - easy, fast and confident
Isiah Koech apparently couldn’t hide his eagerness to show how well he is running. Immediately after the start was given he went into the lead and Gilbert Kirui and Atelaw Yeshetela Bekele were the only ones that were able to follow. One of the other favourites in the race, Josphat Bett from Kenya was virtually knocked-out by the early pace and faded badly to ultimately finish in only 10th place.
Koech once more accelerated in the third of six laps and went off for a solitary effort. For a while Bekele was also left behind by Kirui. In the penultimate lap Bekele, who was cheered hugely by his home crowd, moved past Kirui and secured second place.
Koech came in 45 seconds ahead of European champion Atelaw Yeshetela Bekele who was 53 seconds ahead of multiple European champion Sergey Lebid (UKR) who finished in 7th place. The Koech’s run reminded us of the 2002 edition when Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) was the swift winner in Brussels.
The young Kenyan celebrates his 18th anniversary tomorrow. “Yes, this was an easy win today,” said Koech. “I am very happy for that. Last year I was beaten by Lebid here in Brussels and I desperately wanted to win today.”
“This is my first race in Europe this season. I am well prepared and training is going fine. I’m very confident about making more progress next year. I am always aiming higher and I want to perform well for Kenya. The Olympic Games are the main objective in 2012, I am already focused on London now. At the World Championships in Daegu I finished fourth in the 5000m. Next year I definitely want to be in the medals.”
Caroline Chepkwony takes second consecutive win
The women made it a tight race in the Park of Laeken. A group of four went into the lead and stayed together until the last lap - Kenyans Caroline Chepkwony and Faith Kipyegon, Almens Belete from Ethiopia and Dutchwomen Adrienne Herzog.
Herzog, the 2009 winner in Brussels was the first to drop off the pace. “This was a nice and an interesting race. I was the only European in a leading group of Africans. They were still running comfortably when I was running against my limits. Still I’m happy to finish in fourth place here. I’m satisfied about my form actually and I’m looking forward to 2012.”
Caroline Chepkwony went into the lead with 600m to go and that proved to be the right tactics. Her only 17 years old compatriot Faith Kipyegon was equally happy to finish second and Almensh Belete took third place.
Chepkwony took a second consecutive win in Brussels. “This is a great victory for me. I felt very good and really strong. I was pushing the pace in the uphill sections to try and affect the sprinting speed of my fellow athletes. In the last lap I started sprinting very early on another uphill stretch and that was the decisive move.”
Ivo Hendrix for the IAAF
1 KOECH, ISIAH KEN 32:32
2 YESHETELA ATELAW, BEKELE BEL 33:17
3 KIRUI, GILBERT KEN 33:19
4 TASAMA FAISA, DAME BEL 33:29
5 KIBET, ALEX KEN 33:31
6 VERNON, STEVEN GBR 33:56
7 LEBID, SERGIY UKR 34:10
8 DESMET, PIETER BEL 34:13
9 HUMPHREYS, TOM GBR 34:18
10 BETT, JOSPHAT KEN 34:31
1 CHEPKWONY, CAROLINE KEN 21:17
2 KIPYEGON, FAITH KEN 21:18
3 BELETE, ALMENSH ETH 21:25
4 HERZOG, ADRIENNE NED 21:34
5 MAVEAU, BARBARA BEL 21:40
6 DEAN, HATTI GBR 21:44
7 TWELL, STEPHANIE GBR 21:45
8 DEJAEGHERE, VEERLE BEL 21:46
9 PIDGEON, EMILY GBR 21:54
10 STOCKTON, STEVIE GBR 22:01