ŠAMORÍN, December 10, 2017 – The Kenyans in Turkish jerseys’ dominance at EC in cross country continues. After Polat Arikan (2014), Alim Kaya (2015), and Aras Kaya (2016), the title was won by Kigen Kaan Özbilen.
Originally Mike Kigen, who is representing Turkey since June 2016, defeated 2017 Indoor European Champion in 3000 m, Adel Mechaal from Spain, by 9 seconds. Andrew Butchart from the Great Britain, who was fourth last year, won the bronze medal. The champion from Tukery was starting at EC for the second time, last year finished 10th in Chia.
The title defender Aras Kaya finished 7th with the loss of 29 seconds, Arikana finished 9th, and Ali Kaya did not reach the top 20 – he finished 21st. But it was enough for the Turks to win in the team competition.
2012 champion in 1500 m, Henrik Ingebrigtsen from Norway, who won gold in 2012 also on EC in cross country in men U23 category, finished 11th. Another Northener, the “black horse” of the competition, Napoleon Solomon from Sweden, who was not defeated in cross country this year, was not successful: he finished 23rd with the loss of more than one minute.
The thirty-one-years-old winner, Kigen Kaan Özbilen, is last year’s European Half Marathon second best, and he finished 14th during the World Athletics Championships in London that took place in August.
The best from Slovaks was marathon runner Tibor Sahajda, in his premiere appearance at EC in cross country he finished 59th from 79 participants. The eleventh triathlere from the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Richard Varga, finished 10 placings behind Sahajda. These championships were not good for quintuple Slovak champion Jozef Urban, who finished 73rd, with 51 seconds loss behind Varga.
Man (10,18 km, 79 participants): 1. Kigen Özbilen (TUR) 29:45, 2. Adel Mechaal (ESP) 29:54, 3. Andrew Butchart (GBR) 30:00, 4. Chahdi (FRA) 30:01, 5. Bouchikhi (BEL) 30:04, 6. Connor (GBR) 30:08,… 59. Tibor Sahajda 31:55, 69. Richard Varga 32:24, 73. Jozef Urban (all SVK) 33:15.
Teams: 1. Turkey 17, 2. Spain 20, 3. Great Britain 35,… 13. Slovakia 201.