(© Giancarlo Colombo)
Dawit Seyaum and Addisu Yihune achieved an Ethiopian double at the 65th edition of the Campaccio in San Giorgio su Legnano, the eighth Gold level meeting of this season’s World Athletics Cross Country Tour, on Thursday (6).
The 2022 edition of the popular Northern Italian race celebrated the 100th anniversary of the local sports club Unione Sportiva Sangiorgese.
In the women’s race, Eritrea’s Rahel Daniel Ghebreyohannes took the early lead ahead of a seven-women group featuring Ethiopia’s Medina Eisa, Kenya’s world U20 champion Beatrice Chebet, Seyaum, Kenya’s Lucy Mawia, Ethiopia’s Fantaye Belayneh, Italy’s Anna Arnaudo and her compatriot Nadia Battocletti, the European U23 cross country champion. The leading pack went through the 2km mark in 6:38.
Seven runners remained at the front as the pace picked up at 4km. Seyaum changed gear, clocking a split of 2:49 between 4km and 5km. The leading pack was whittled down to five runners at 5km.
Seyaum, Chebet and Daniel Ghebreyohannes broke away with 500 metres to go and battled it out for the win. Seyaum unleashed her final kick to cross the finish line in 18:48, holding off Atapuerca cross country winner Daniel Ghebreyohannes by just one second in a close sprint. Chebet was beaten for the second time in this cross country season by Daniel Ghebreyohannes and had to settle for third place in 18:51 ahead of Belayneh (18:56) and Eisa (19:05).
Battocletti edged her Slovenian rival Klara Lukan to finish sixth in 19:06.
Seyaum claimed a back-to-back win after her recent triumph at the Boclassic 5km road race in Bolzano last Friday.
The men’s race saw a big group featuring Kenya’s Vincent Kipkurui Too, Emmanuel Korir Kiplagat and Amos Serem, together with Ethiopia’s Yihune, Eritrea’s Aron Kifle and Italian runners Iliass Aouani, Yohanes Chiappinelli and Eyob Ghebrehiwet Faniel, go through 3km in 8:43.
Too set the pace at the front of an eight-man group, closely followed by Serem, Kiplagat, Kifle, Yihune and Faniel during the third lap. They went through 4km in 11:46 and 5km in 14:30.
Aouani was the first to drop back at 7km and the leading group was whittled down to seven athletes. Kiplagat then moved to the front ahead of six other runners: Serem, Kifle, Faniel, Too, Yihune and Chiappinelli.
The first significant move came at 8km when Yihune, Kiplagat, Too, Serem and Kifle picked up the pace and pulled away from marathon runner Faniel by two seconds. Yihune pushed on at the front and increased his lead during the last lap, going on to cross the finish line in 28:39 with a six-second gap over Kiplagat.
Serem, who won the world U20 gold medal in the 3000m steeplechase in Nairobi last August, won a very close sprint for third place in 28:53, holding off Too. Kifle rounded out the top five in 28:59.
Faniel finished sixth as the first Italian athlete in 29:15, beating European 3000m steeplechase bronze medallist Chiappinelli (29:21) and Italian cross country champion Aouani (29:45).
Yihune joined the list of Ethiopian stars who have won the Campaccio race, that includes Haile Gebrselassie, Kenenisa Bekele, Muktar Edris, Imane Merga and Hagos Gebrhiwet.
Yihune, who will turn 19 in March, finished fourth in the 5000m at the World U20 Championships in Nairobi and clocked a PB of 12:58.99 over this distance in Hengelo last June.
“I felt confident during the race that I could win, as I knew that I was well prepared,” said Yihune. “I train with Selemon Barega. He is my role model.”
Diego Sampaolo for World Athletics
1 Dawit Seyaum (ETH) 18:48
2 Rahel Daniel Ghebreyohannes (ERI) 18:49
3 Beatrice Chebet (KEN) 18:51
4 Fantaye Belayneh (ETH) 18:56
5 Medina Eisa (ETH) 19:05
6 Nadia Battocletti (ITA) 19:06
7 Klara Lukan (SLO) 19:06
8 Lucy Mawia (KEN) 19:15
9 Anna Arnaudo (ITA) 19:41
10 Eva Cherono (KEN) 19:58
1 Addisu Yihune (ETH) 28:39
2 Emmanuel Korir Kiplagat (KEN) 28:45
3 Amos Serem (KEN) 28:53
4 Vincent Kipkurui Too (KEN) 28:53
5 Aron Kifle (ERI) 28:59
6 Eyob Ghebrehiwet Faniel (ITA) 29:15
7 Yohanes Chiappinelli (ITA) 29:21
8 Iliass Aouani (Italy) 29:45
9 Mohamed Jihnaoui (TUN) 29:49
10 Luca Alfieri (ITA) 29:53