Edinah Jebitok seeking a happy ending at the International Cross-country in Albufeira

ATHLETICS Edinah Jebitok seeking a happy ending at the International Cross-country in Albufeira

Abigael Wafula 11:06 - 25.02.2024

Edinah Jebitok is among the international runners who will be looking to impress at the International Cross of Almond Trees in Bloom in Albufeira.

Cross-country guru Edinah Jebitok, Rodrigue Kwizera, and Likina Amebaw, the current leaders in the World Athletics Cross Country Tour standings, are aiming for a happy ending as they head to the last Gold meeting of the season when they compete at the Cross Internacional das Amendoeiras em Flor in Albufeira on Sunday.

The lucrative event doubles up as the European Champion Clubs Cup event, which means there’s a large contingent of European athletes entered. However, there is also a larger number of international entrants who will be looking to impress.

Kenyan superstar Jebitok and Ethiopia’s Amebaw are currently tied at the top of the women’s Cross-Country Tour standings with both having amassed the highest score possible.

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Regardless of who finishes where on Sunday, it won’t prevent either one from being declared joint winners of the tour but both will be looking to impress on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Jebitok won in Seville in November, then Venta de Banos in December and Hannut in January while Spain-based Amebaw won the Cross Country Tour Gold races in Amorebieta, Soria, and Alcobendas, as well as taking victory at the recent Monaco Run 5km in 14:35.

In their only clash of the season, in Atapuerca, Jebitok finished comfortably ahead of Amebaw. The duo will face opposition from the likes of Anjelina Nadai Lohalith, who competes internationally for the Athlete Refugee Team and she will be looking to defend her title.

After her victory last year, the 29-year-old went on to set a 5000m PB of 15:33.85 in the summer. Also, Spanish steeplechaser Irene Sanchez-Escribano, African U20 3000m champion Asmarech Anley of Ethiopia, and Portugal’s Mariana Machado will feature at the event.

The men’s race will see Kwizera, who has won the senior men’s race at the European Champion Clubs Cup for the past two years take on a very strong field.

The Burundian runner has been in fine form this cross-country season too, with wins in Soria and Alcobendas contributing to his current lead in the tour standings.

His main opposition will come from Thierry Ndikumwenayo, who finished a close second to Kwizera at the Spanish Cross-Country Championships at the end of January.

Uganda’s 2022 world 5000m bronze medallist Oscar Chelimo was runner-up behind Kwizera at the European Champion Clubs Cup last year, so he’ll be highly motivated this time around.

The Kenyan charge will be led by Edward Zakayo and Vincent Rono, who placed seventh at the 2017 World Cross.