Friday 24 March 2017

Britton different class in sizzling victory

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

FIONNUALA BRITTON absolutely decimated the rest of the field as she romped to victory in Saturday's Great Edinburgh Cross-Country.

Britton's 20-second winning margin over Emma Steele, the woman who was third behind her at the recent European Championships, underlined her world-class form right now.

"This was a big event; I knew everyone would be trying to chase me down and, after Christmas and the new year, I didn't know what sort of shape I was in so it's nice to come out and feel so strong," said the Kilcoole star, who races in Seville next weekend.

Britton waited until the start of the second lap to make a move that no-one but Steele was able to go with and from there her victory was never in doubt. She won in 21 minutes and 32 seconds from Steele (21.52) and her British team-mate Elle Baker (22.08), with America's Neely Spence next home in 22.11.

The windy, muddy conditions didn't suit Joe Sweeney (DSD), who was 11th in the long-course race won by Spain's Ayad Lamsdessen (25.44), ahead of America's Bobby Mack (25:47) and Belgian's European cross-country champion Atelaw Bekele (25.47).

There was surprise at the poor form of Ethiopian superstar Kenenisa Bekele and Olympic steeplechase champion Brimin Kipruto in the men's short-course race.

They could only manage 11th and 12th respectively, while Olympic and world 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop coasted to victory in 9:20. Britain's Johnny Hay got up on the line to snatch second place ahead of Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge and Spain's Juan Carlos Higuero.

Clonmel's Sean Tobin, fourth in the European Youth Olympics last year at 3,000m, was sixth in the junior race.

Irish Independent

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