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Kiplagat powers to world triumph

Florence Kiplagat crosses the line to win on Saturday
Kiplagat's fast finish saw her claim gold in Jordan

Florence Kiplagat produced a storming finish to win the women's World Cross Country Championship as Great Britain's Steph Twell finished well off the pace.

Linet Masai had a big lead entering the last lap but her Kenyan compatriot overhauled her on the final hill.

Twell, who could only finish 38th in Jordan, said: "To have one of the worst races of my season at the biggest championships is very disappointing."

The men's race in Amman was won by Ethiopia's Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam.

Moses Kipsiro of Uganda was second with another Ethiopian, Tadese Tola, third.

World junior 1500m champion Twell, 19, tried to go with the pace but after drifting off the leading group towards the end of the second lap she rapidly went backwards.

It's my first senior World Cross Country and I definitely want to get back here and do better next time

Leading Briton Steph Twell

Kenya's Masai then upped the pace and at two-thirds distance the only runners able to stay anywhere near her were two of the Ethiopian contingent.

Masai looked set for a commanding victory but Kiplagat had kept plenty in reserve and she launched an attack from well off the pace.

As the final lap wore on she closed right up on Masai and passed her on the tricky hill up to the finish to win in style.

Despite her lowly finish Twell was the first Briton home and she vowed to bounce back quickly from her poor performance.

"I didn't feel at all like myself and I've just got to draw a line under this and tomorrow is a new day," she said.

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"It's my first senior World Cross Country and I definitely want to get back here and do better next time.

"The Kenyans and the rest were very, very strong and I just felt not like myself at all, just very flat.

"There has been a lot of hard work gone into this race - don't get me wrong, there always is a lot of hard work - but it's just not the performance we wanted at the end of the day."

The men's race saw the leading group stay together until well into the closing stages.

Like the women's race it was dominated by runners from Africa and six were in with a chance up the final hill, but it was the sprinting speed of Gebremariam that proved decisive.

Frank Tickner was the leading British man in 79th place.



see also
Masai upstages Twell in Edinburgh
10 Jan 09 |  Athletics
'New Paula' targets gold in 2012
10 Feb 09 |  Athletics
Twell targets 2012 Olympic gold
09 Feb 09 |  Athletics


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