Veerle Dejaeghere and Paul Kipsiele Koech score emphatic wins in Iris Lotto Cross Cup in Brussels


 Veerle Dejaeghere in the leading pack at the Iris Lotto Cross Cup in Brussels (Nadia Verhoft)

Sunday 23 December 2007

Brussels, Belgium - Veerle Dejaeghere delighted her home crowd in Brussels when she kicked away from the leading group with 500m to go and came through the finish victoriously.

Top favourite and World champion Lornah Kiplagat left the race in the third of four laps after twisting her ankle. In the men’s race Paul Koech joined the leading group only in the latter stages of the race but the 2007 world leading steeplechaser was well in control of his effort and narrowly beat Sergey Lebid in a thrilling sprint finish.

Veerle Dejaeghere wins the Iris Lotto Cross Cup in Brussels
(Nadia Verhoft)
Veerle Dejaeghere delights home crowd

The women’s race was very compact with a leading group of ten athletes entering the last lap. Most of the work in the lead was done by Lornah Kiplagat from the Netherlands and by Aniko Kalovics.

“There was no room to move in front,” said the Hungarian. “We were pushing a lot and running on each other heels. I tried to break the field, but that only succeeded in the latter stages of the race.”

Portuguese Monica Rosa dropped off the leading group in the third lap and in the final lap a group of four built a decisive gap with the rest of the field.

Ukrainian Tatyana Holovchenko looked very comfortable when they headed towards the long downhill section leading to the finish line. But surprisingly enough it was Veerle Dejaeghere who accelerated with 500m to go.

Dejaeghere secured her advantage and crossed the finish line in triumph. Holovchenko came in second and Ethiopian Emebt Etea was third. Kalovics had to settle for fourth place.

“Good enough for me," said Kalovics. "The course was fast today and my finishing speed is very poor. Unlike previous years the course was not heavy and muddy. It looked more like a grass track. I’m preparing to run the Rome Marathon in March and do better than my 2:26.44 debut (downhill course) from 2006.”

“I thank the fans who have supported me a lot today”

It was an unexpected and an emotional win for Veerle Dejaeghere. “I skipped the European Championships and I prepared well to be in top shape for Brussels today. I had a lot of trouble finding the good training rhythm after the track season. Competitions continue until September and it takes some time before I really get ready for the cross country season. That’s why I decided not to participate in the European Championships in Toro,” admits Dejaeghere. “But I have no regrets about that, I don’t think that I could have finished close in Toro. Those championships came too early and the distance was too long for me.”

Dejaeghere turns 35 in 2008 and the Olympic Games are the last main goal in her career. She was a 3000m Steeplechase finalist in the 2007 World Championships and she hopes to repeat that again in Beijing.

“After the Games, my international career will be over,” confirms Dejaeghere. “The 2008 European Cross Country Championships will be held here in Ostend and I love the Brussels Cross Cup as well,” anticipates Dejaeghere any further questions, “but my husband and I have been yearning for children for many years now and that will be our priority by then. But, if I’m not pregnant by December next year, you can ask the question again,” she burst out laughing.

Then, Dejaeghere takes the microphone and she addresses her fans. “I really want to thank you all for cheering me all along the course today. It really motivated me to give the best I could. And I want to ask you to support a Christmas Charity initiative that I am an ambassador for.” And she took a cup and invited the spectators to contribute.

08:33 Gepost door Veerle Dejaeghere in Algemeen | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

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