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
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
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
said Tulu who missed last week's Ethiopian Championships to run in
Edinburgh.Kenny Herriot a week after breaking the UK wheelchair
record in Italoy last weekend, stepped down for a home soil victory in
a time of 30min 01sec.