3 Previous Winners Contend for Title
05 January 2016
3 previous female champions to race at the IAAF Antrim International Cross Country at Greenmount.
Former double European Cross Country champion Fionnuala McCormack will now face the 2014 Greenmount winner at next week's Antrim International Cross Country, which is one of a World Series and supported by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.
The inclusion of Mimi Belete of Bahrain means that the race now includes 3 previous winners. Mimi scored a narrow victory over team mate Maryam Jamal at Greenmount two years ago in a high quality race where Irish star Fionnuala could only manage 4th place. 27 year old Mimi is in fact better known as a 5,000 metres runner, as shown last summer by a World top 12 time of 15 minutes 54.71 seconds plus a place in the World final in Beijing.
Twice previous Greenmount winner Fionnuala McCormack will therefore be fully tested by Mimi Belete in any potential sprint finish over an inevitable energy sapping heavy course. The opposition however, also includes recently crowned European U23 champion Louise Carton of Belgium plus last year's defending champion Birtukan Fente Alemu of Ethiopia.
The standard in this race will present a significant challenge for Northern Ireland athletes Kerry O'Flaherty and Emma Mitchell. Kerry was a squad member in the recent Irish bronze medal winning team at the European Championships while Emma raced in the U23 event.
The Men's race is also shaping up as one of the best ever with the inclusion of European Junior champion Yeman Crippa of Italy. Last month in France the 19 year old successfully defended his 2014 title with a commanding display of front running resulting in an easy victory by 6 seconds. Yeman won at the big Edinburg meeting a year ago and also took a bronze medal in the European Junior 5,000 metres last summer.
At Greenmount he will face defending champion Thomas Ayeko who also won in 2013. Another big name who could well gain a rostrum place is 22 year old Aweke Ayelew of Bahrain who finished in an impressive in the World Cross last March.
The NI team will include Paddy Hamilton, Seamus Lynch and Declan Reed.
For further information on the Antrim International Cross Country visit www.athleticsni.org/Events