Looking Back At Bygdoszcz - Hope for Non-Africans?
Shalane Flanagan only non-African-born in top-15 of all 4 of day's races; Only total of 2 non-African-borns in top-30 in men's senior and junior races
March 30, 2010
Alfonz Juck of EME News pointed out many of the following facts from the World Cross Country Championships in Poland. Juck prompted us to look a little closer to find some more facts in the results.
Senior Men - Top-32 All Born In Africa
In the senior men's race, 24 out of the top-30 finishers represented African countries. The other six were African-born athletes competing for non-African countries. The best non-African born runner was Carlos Castillejo of Spain in 33rd. Patrick Smyth was the top American finisher in 36th.
Junior Men - Dunbar and Murasawa Crack Top-30
26 out of the top-30 junior men competed for African countries. Two more in the top-30 were African-born (19th place Kimurer of Bahrain and 27th place University of Wisconsin freshman Mohammed Ahmed for Canada). Two non-African born athletes in the top-30 were Murasawa from Japan (28th) and American Trevor Dunbar in 29th.
|Photo: Joseph Ebuya leads the 2010 senior men's cross country championship in Bygdoszcz, Poland.|
Senior Women - Flanagan Cracks Top-12, 54 Seconds From Medal Hunt
Eleven non-African-borns finished in the top-30 in the senior women's race, led by American Shalane Flangan in 12th. Three more American athletes made the top-25 along with relatively big names like Benita Willis of Australia, Steph Twell of Great Britain and Jessica Augusto of Portugal. USA managed a bronze medal in the women's senior team competition, the only non-African medal of the 24 awarded on the day to individuals and national teams. If Flanagan was competing for Ethiopia or Kenya, her 12th-place finish would make her the 6th Kenyan woman (including Kenya-born Dutch Hilda Kibet) or the 7th Ethiopian (including Ethiopian-born Bahraini) woman to cross the line. Flanagan finished 54 seconds behind bronze.
The top-15 in the junior women's race consisted of 12 Kenyans and Ethiopians, 1 Ethiopia-born Bahrainian and 2 Ugandans. Russia's Guzlat Fazlitdinova was the first non-African-born in 16th and USA's Emily Sisson was close behind in 18th. Only 2 Americans (Sisson and Shelby Greany) were within 2 minutes of a medal. Only Fazlitdinova was within 1 minute of a medal among non-African-born runners.
Senior Men vs. Senior Women - Despite Longer Race, Men's Race Much Tighter
Two minutes separated the top-40 men (33-35 minutes) while two minutes separated the top-24 women (24-26 minutes). One minute (1:01) separated the top-20 men while one minute separated the top-10 women.