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Posted: March 28, 2009  :

(RRW) Athletics: Genzebe Dibaba Defends World Cross Junior Title

From David Monti

© 2009 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

Genzebe Dibaba, a younger sister of Olympic medalists Tirunesh and Ejegayehu Dibaba, defended her junior title today as the IAAF World Cross Country Championships kicked off in Amman, Jordan.

Dibaba, who turned 18 last month, was running in a huge lead pack after the first lap of the 6 km race, surrounded by her Ethiopian teammates and her challengers from Kenya, including Mercy Cherono, last year's world junior 3000m champion. But by the 4 km mark, Dibaba had a four second lead on Cherono, while the rest of the pack was another nine seconds back. Cherono was able to stay within striking distance, but could not get the best of Dibaba who came home first in 20:14. Cherono got the silver in 20:17, while her Kenyan teammate Jackline Chepngeno took the bronze in 20:27.

With athletes from Ethiopia and Kenya taking the top ten spots, there was a very close battle between those nations for the team title. Both Ethiopia and Kenya scored 18 points, but Ethiopia was given the gold medal for the second consecutive year because their last scoring athlete, Emebet Anteneh, finished seventh to Kenya's top scoring athlete, Hilda Chepkemoi Tanui, who finished eighth. Japan got the bronze with 76 points.

The top non-African finisher was Australian Emily Brichacek who finished 11th; the top European was Britain's Lauren Howarth who finished 13th, while the top North American was Neely Spence of the United States who finished 19th.

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