Eritrea’s Rahel Daniel Claimed Second World Cross Country Win in Two Days

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Winning Campaccio and Elgoibar World Cross Country Tours in a space of only two days.

Eritrea’s Rahel Daniel claimed commanding victory at the 79th Cross Internacional Juan Muguerza – a World Athletics Cross Country Tour Gold meeting – in the Spanish town of Elgoibar on Sunday (8) three days after she took the honors at the 66th edition of the Campaccio-International Cross Country in the Italian town of San Giorgio su Legnano, a World Athletics Cross Country Tour Gold circuit event on Friday (6).

Rahel Daniel was the first Eritrean athlete to win the top spot both at Campaccio and Elgoibar.

On a cloudy day but one without rain by the time of the events, the 7.6km women’s race kicked off at a pedestrian pace, the opening 400m on the track being covered in 1:31.

After the first small lap, six women remained in the lead group, Rahel Daniel joined by the Kenyan duo of Edinah Jebitok and Margaret Kipkemboi, Ethiopia’s Mahlet Mulugeta, Bahrain’s Winfred Yavi, and Burundian Francine Niyonsaba, who was the first casualty of the front pack along with Mahlet Mulugeta as they began to lose ground 11 minutes into the race.

The defending champion Jebitok Kipkemboi did most of the pacing duties but Rahel Daniel traveled right on her shoulder with ease, despite having contested and won the Campaccio cross-country event in San Giorgio su Legnano two days earlier.

By the bell, the duo at the helm had a three-second advantage on Yavi, herself nine seconds clear of Kipkemboi with Niyonsaba a distant fifth, 25 seconds in arrears. The key move came with 600m remaining when Rahel Daniel – who finished fifth at the Olympics over 10,000m – broke away easily from Jebitok to take her second win in the World Athletics Cross Country Tour in just two days.

The 21-year-old Eritrean clocked 25:43, finishing eight seconds ahead of Jebitok, while a lonesome Yavi claimed third place, 15 seconds in arrears.

“It was a muddy and tough race so I prefer to kick off conservatively, especially as I was a bit tired after the race in Italy,” said Rahel Daniel. “I’m completely focused on the World Cross Country Championships in Australia and I want to win a medal there.”

The talented young Eritrean athlete is now on track for the Bathurst 2023 World Athletics Cross Country Championships that will be held next month (Feb 18th) in Australia.

* World Athletics contributed to the above story