Moses Kipsiro acquired his sixth victory in the last seven years at the Ugandan Cross Country Championships, held in the south eastern city of Jinja on Saturday (1).
The 2009 world cross-country silver medallist, who just missed out on adding to his medal collection when he finished fourth at the 2013 championships in Bydgoszcz, won the 12km race in 36:37.
He was six seconds in front of Daniel Rotich, with the former world cross country junior men’s bronze medallist Moses Kibet a distant third in 37:04.
“Many had written me off after the World Championships,” stated the champion, who is now shifting his focus to the African Cross Country Championships, which this year will be held on home soil in Ugandan capital Kampala on 16 March.
“I had taken time off the public scene since then to concentrate on my preparations for this competition. Let's wait and see what happens at the African Cross Country Championships.”
Stella Chesang, who was fourth over 3000m at the IAAF World Youth Championships last summer, is another contender for medals for the host nation next month and the 17-year-old looked in good shape as she dominated the junior women’s 6km race in 20:59, winning by 17 seconds from Phanise Chemutai.
Other winners in Jinja were Linet Chebet in the senior women's 8km race in 28:36 and Philip Kipyego in the junior men's 8km race in 23:58.
Mutai upsets Kipyegon at South Rift Championships
There was a mild surprise in the senior women's race at the South Rift Cross Country Championships in Kenya on Saturday as Beatrice Mutai defeated Kenyan 1500m record-holder Faith Kipyegon, the winner of the Cinque Mulini in Italy last week.
In the junior category, world youth 2000m steeplechase champion Roseline Chepngetich defeated strong opposition, including the world and African junior 3000m champion Mercy Chepwogen and double African junior medallist Sheila Chepngetich.
No times were recorded in these races.
Meanwhile, new names emerged in the men's races with Philip Langat and Hillary Kipkemoi winning the senior and junior categories respectively.
Other noteworthy performances on Saturday came from African junior 5000m champion Moses Mukono, who won the junior race at the Nairobi Province Championships on Saturday while Cornelius Kangogo won the senior race at the North Rift Province Championships.
Kangogo, still only 20, had been an impressive fourth at the IAAF Cross Country Permit meeting in Antrim, Northern Ireland, last month.
The provincial championships mark the final qualification stage in the build-up to the Kenyan Cross Country Championships, which incorporates the only IAAF Cross Country Permit meeting on African soil, on 15 February.
The top six runners from each race gained selection to represent their province at the Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi in two weeks' time.
Tigabea defends in Valladolid
Ethiopia's Spain-based Marta Tigabea won the Cross Internacional Ciudad de Valladolid for the third time, beating a largely domestic field over 6.725km on Sunday (2).
The 23-year-old won the 26th edition of this race in 23:47, taking the plaudits ahead of local runners Alba Garcia and Paula Gonzalez, who were second and third in 23:52 and 23:58 respectively.
Samuel Tsegay became the first Eritrean to prevail in the senior men’s race as the marathon specialist won the 10.725km race in 30:24, ten seconds ahead of Spain’s 2013 World Championships 3000m steeplechase representative Roberto Alaiz.
Serbia’s world junior 1500m silver medallist Amela Terzic delivered a popular victory on home soil at the annual White Cross race in Belgrade, winning over a shortened 2km course in 6:34 on Sunday.
It was the fifth consecutive victory in the event for Terzic, the 2012 European junior cross country champion, who first won the race in 2010 when she was just 16. She edged closer to the record seven consecutive wins by Olivera Jevtic between 1994 and 2000.
Muamer Asanovic completed the second half of the Serbian double by taking top honours in the men’s 5km race in 15:34.
Steven Mills (with assistance from Kip Evans and Namayo Mawerere) for the IAAF