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Ethiopian duo retain world XCC titles

Tirunesh Dibaba and Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia - Source -YSM Media (01/04/2006)

Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele has won the IAAF World Cross Country men's short course race for the fifth successive time at the 34th World Cross Country Championships in Fukuoka.

Bekele, the Olympic and world 10,000m champion, won the 4km race run at a fast pace in 10 minutes, 54 seconds.

Kenyan Isaac Songok claimed the silver medal after finishing one second, behind in 10:55 with Moroccan Adil Kaouch taking the bronze in 10:57.

Kenya (21 points) however won the team title from Ethiopia (48 points), largely thanks to the fourth place finish by World 5,000m champion Benjamin Limo in the men's 4km.

The Moroccan team finished third with 53 points.

After the race, Bekele said: "The course was very flat and fast, and it was very windy, so it was hard to drop off the other competitors.

"We have never before finished so close together. None of the victories have ever been easy, but today's was the toughest."

Dibaba double?

Defending women's long course champion Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia retained her title after covering the 8km race in 25:21 seconds.

Lornah Kiplagat of the Netherlands was five seconds behind for the silver medal (25:26) while Ethiopia's Meselech Melkamu was third (25:38).

Ethiopia leads the women team standings with 16 points, with Kenya in second with 39 points and Japan lies third in 80 points.

Next, Bekele competes in the 12km race, which he has also won for the past four years, tommorrow morning whilst Dibaba attempts to become the first woman to win both races for a second year running.

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34th IAAF World Cross Country Championship in Fukuoka, Japan.

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Last updated: 01-Apr-2006 4:10 PM

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