Eritrean men clean up at WMRC

Posted in At the Races by Matt Ward on Mon 06 Sep '10


Samson Gashazghi

At yesterdays 26th World Mountain Running Championships the first six positions in the men’s race were filled by Eritrean and Ugandan athletes, Eritrea also claimed the team title, and young Eritrean Yossief Andemichael absolutely crushed the opposition in the junior men’s race…

I think we can safely say that Africa has arrived, for good, in world mountain running. It is, however, a different story in women’s racing currently as Austria’s Andrea Mayr claimed yet another title in dominant fashion, ahead of Italy’s Valentina Belotti.


Andrea Mayr breaks the tape

From the off in the men’s race the pace was extremely high and a group of six Eritrean (including eventual winner Samson Gashazghi) and five Ugandan runners (including 2009 winner Geoffrey Kusuro) quickly emerged at the head of affairs. European MR champion Ahmet Arslan was the only athlete able to keep any kind of contact with the African dominance, with 6-time champion Jonathan Wyatt sitting behind.

© Gorski Teki

Samson Gashazghi

As the steep stuff kicked in (25% gradient) Wyatt and Arslan started to move-up the field, overtaking many of the early leaders. But the leading trio of Gashazghi, Kusuro and Eritrean Teklay Weldemariam were away. Entering the last (fast km) and it was going to be between Gashazghi and team-mate Weldemariam, and as the course steepened for one last time Gashazghi had just enough in the last 250 metres to win by 3 seconds.

© Gorski Teki

Jono on the run-in

Kusuro just preventing Mamu Shaku from making it an Eritrean 1-2-3, and he took the bronze medal.

Arslan came through for an excellent 7th place, with Jono Wyatt just behind for 8th. The Eritrean men clearly won the team race, with Joe Gray (10th) leading an excellent team effort from the US team to take the silver medal, Italy were third.


The men's podium

From a British perspective Jame McMullen came through for an excellent 47th, to be first Brit, with trials winner Tom Cornthwaite back in 69th. The GB men finished 10th team.

In the women’s race pre-race predictions were heading the way of Andrea Mayr, after some good early season form on terrain and courses that proved to be perfect preparation for the Austrian. Mayr set out her stall early on the tough 8.5 km Kamnik course by leading through the steep section, and won comfortably in the end by 38 seconds from Belotti. Switzerland’s Martina Straehl was took the bronze. The expected challenge for the US women didn’t materialise with Kristin Price their first finisher in 12th.

Belotti’s superb run, backed up by an excellent 6th for Antonella Confortolla, meant that the Italian women won the team prize from the Swiss and Russian teams.

The British girls were led home by Vicky Wilkinson, running a great race for 20th, with Anna Lupton (31), Kate Goodhead (36) and Olivia Walwyn (40) all running strongly, leaving the GB team in 7th.

The junior men’s race was a tale of two races, producing some suprises, none more so than the winning margin of Eritrean youngster Yossief Andemichael. His time of 42.30 for the 8.5km course was an incredible 3 mins and 30 seconds faster than second placed Ridvan Bozkurt from Turkey – and a full 7 minutes faster than women’s champion Andrea Mayr over the corresponding course!

© Al Tye /

Dewi Griffiths - surely a future mountain star

Special praise should certainly go to young Welsh youngster Dewi Griffiths too. The Carmarthen runner performed superbly to come through for 6th place, just over a minute off the medals. He led the British boys to 6th in the team competition.

Finally, the junior women’s event produced another dominant performance, with Turkey’s Yasmin Can winning easily from compatriot Burcu Dag. But it was Britain’s Cat Buchanan (7th), Becky Lambson (12th) and Hannah Baetson (24th) who were the big British team success, taking an excellent bronze, behind the Turkish and Romanian teams. Along with Dewi Griffiths (and the absent Robbie Simpson), it appears that the British youngsters could have a very bright future in international mountain running.

26th World Mountain Running Championships
Kamnik/SLO – 5. Sept. 2010 – OFFICIAL RESULTS

Junior women
Start: Kisovec (1240 m) Length: 4,5 km
Finish: Gradisce (1660 m) Ascent: 430 m
Number of finishers: 51 Descent: 10 m
1 316 CAN Yasemin 92 TUR 0:24:04
2 317 DAG Burcu 91 TUR 0:24:42
3 113 PANTHEON Adelaide 91 FRA 0:24:48
4 229 WENG Heidi 91 NOR 0:25:25
5 262 NEGRU Cristina 91 RUM 0:26:01
6 288 EINFALT Lea 94 SLO 0:26:15
7 129 BUCHANAN Catriona 91 GBR 0:26:26
8 261 DRAGOMIR Denisa 92 RUM 0:26:30
9 318 TARHAN Yagmur 91 TUR 0:26:34
10 242 PALUCH Kamila 94 POL 0:26:39

Junior men
Start: Primoz (700 m) Length: 8,5 km
Finish: Gradisce (1660 m) Ascent: 1035 m
Number of finishers: 76 Descent: 75 m
1 103 ANDEMICHAEL Yossief T. 92 ERI 0:42:30
2 313 BOZKURT Ridvan 91 TUR 0:46:00
3 38 JOLY Jente 91 BEL 0:46:29
4 315 ULAS Ergin 92 TUR 0:46:59
5 110 GRAS Michael 91 FRA 0:47:14
6 123 GRIFFITHS Dewi 91 GBR 0:47:36
7 237 BIERCZAK Maciej 91 POL 0:48:15
8 143 PALZER Toni 93 GER 0:48:44
9 141 ALRUAN Fabian 91 GER 0:49:03
10 24 MATTLE Martin 91 AUT 0:49:07
Teams: 1 Turkey 20 pts, 2 Germany 33 pts, 3 Italy 41 pts, 15 Australia 138 pts.

Senior women
Start: Primoz (700 m) Length: 8,5 km
Finish: Gradisce (1660 m) Ascent: 1035 m
Number of finishers: 69 Descent: 75 m
1 37 MAYR Andrea 79 AUT 0:49:30
2 194 BELOTTI Valentina 80 ITA 0:50:08
3 308 STRAEHL Martina 87 SUI 0:50:42
4 280 SEMOVA Svetlana 76 RUS 0:51:02
5 299 KOSOVELJ Mateja 88 SLO 0:51:24
6 195 CONFORTOLA Antonella 75 ITA 0:52:19
7 282 RUKHLYADA Elena 86 RUS 0:52:30
8 306 HELFENBERGER Claudia 66 SUI 0:52:35
9 197 ROBERTI Maria Grazia 66 ITA 0:52:42
10 307 MEIER‐B. Bernadette 72 SUI 0:52:57
Teams: 1 Italy 17 pts, 2 Switzerland 21 pts, 3 Russia 36 pts, 13 Australia 148 pts.

Senior men
Start: OS Stranje (440 m) Length: 12,0 km
Finish: Gradisce (1660 m) Ascent: 1295 m
Number of finishers: 149 Descent: 75 m
1 106 GASHAZGHI Samson K. 84 ERI 0:56:25
2 104 WELDEMARIAM A. Teklay 78 ERI 0:56:28
3 328 KUSURO Geoffrey 89 UGA 0:56:57
4 105 SHAKU Petro Mamu 84 ERI 0:57:00
5 331 KIPROTICH Stephan 89 UGA 0:57:16
6 108 HABTOM Abraham K. 74 ERI 0:57:55
7 319 ARSLAN Ahmet 86 TUR 0:58:14
8 234 WYATT Jonathan 72 NZL 0:58:23
9 107 MOHAMED Haben I. 87 ERI 0:58:59
10 345 GRAY Joe 84 USA 0:59:27
Teams: 1 Eritrea 13 pts, 2 USA 71 pts, 3 Italy 77 pts, 17 Australia 409 pts.

Full results can be found at Timing Lubljana

Reactions so far
  1. Metkel Asmerom Sep 7, 12:48 AM

    Hi all !
    Watch out! The Africans in general and Eritreans in particular are coming to dominate thw world of sports soon. I am sure to see more of Eritrea in all fields of sport, football, cycling. and a lot more. I congratulate the Eritrean team which has shown an undefiable resilience to make history. “ Awet kalsna bdemna! “
    Metkel Asmerom Sweden

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