European Winners in both Edinburgh 10 k races
Juan Carlos de la Ossa powered to the fastest 10 kilometres time in Great Britain this year, scoring a thrilling victory ahead of his African rivals Sunday's BUPA Great Caledonian Run. The Spaniard's unexpected success, quickly followed that of Jelena Prokopcuka winner of the the women's race a few minutes earlier, to complete a rare double for European athletes at the Edinburgh meeting.
De la Ossa twice European cross country runner-up - he claimed the first silver medal in the Scottish capital 17 months ago - produced a superb long sprint 600 metres from home to win in a time of 28minutes 22seconds. It wasn't an easy victory, both pre-race favourite Boniface Kiprop of Uganda and Tanzania's John Yuda, were hot on his heels, indeed their neck-and-neck duel, saw them both finish just two seconds behind the winner.
De la Ossa admitted before the race he felt Kiprop last year's World
junior 10000m champion then fourth a month later in the Olympic 10000m
final, was the likeliest winner.
He said: "His is a high quality runner. But once we started, I felt good. The course with its hills suited me, and although it was tough, I always felt comfortable. I knew I was in good shape from the training I have don back home. I have also been been doing a lot of speedwork so when it came to the finishing stages, I knew I could make a strong challenge. I didn't know what was going on behind me in the last stretch -I just got my head down and started sprinting. It is good to come back here where I won my first cross country silver medal and score a victory. This is a good win for me particularly beating the Africans. It is also good for European athletics that she (Prokopcuka) won the women's race."
Prokopcuka really savoured her success against two-times Olympic 10000m champion Derartu Tulu even though the Ethiopian did establish an early lead. Tulu who is returning home to consider whether she will challenge for more honours in this summer's World Championships, broke away just before the half distance.But the Latvian winner of the Osaka marathon in January, quickly reeled her in and with two kilometres of the race remaining had established a six seconds lead, which gradually got longer.
Prokopcuka relishing one particuarly long uphill climb in the closing stages, extended her winning margin to 12seconds, at the finish clocking 32min 42sec, with Portugal's Jessica Augusto (33:24) taking third. "Obviously I am pleased with my win, but you must remember Tulu ran a marathon only three weeks ago and must have been feeling the effects of that," said the benevolent winner. The first European-born athlete in last summer's Olympic 10000m final, added: "When Tulu got away early it was on a downhill stretch and that suited her. For me running uphill is one of my strengths and when I broke away, I was still running comfortably. She is a great runner and to have beaten her is an honour which I will remember. It wasn't easy. Now I'm lookinhg forward to running in this country in a fortnight's time," said Prokopcuka who will be bidding to also collect the BUPA Great Manchester Run title.
Tulu admitted although finding the early stages of the course to her liking, she struggled on two of the very tough climbs in the second part of the race. "She deserved to win and ran a very good race," said Tulu. "There's no excuses from me - Jelena was so powerful on the hills. "Now I'm going home to think about my future plans for the summer," said Tulu who missed last week's Ethiopian Championships to run in Edinburgh.Kenny Herriot a week after breaking the UK wheelchair marathon record in Italoy last weekend, stepped down for a home soil victory in a time of 30min 01sec.
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