For the first time in many years, a Belgian athlete won the European Athletics Cross Country Permit Meeting in Hannut as Louise Carton triumphed in the women's race.
‘Louise Carton’, remember that name. This Ostend native girl, leader in the Lotto Crosscup standings, who had finished 7th in the under-23 race at the last SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Samokov, made a huge impression on the muddy fields of Hannut.
It all started when Carton, still only 20, caught Veerle Dejaeghere, 13 times winner of the Lotto Crosscup standings, who had tried to make an early escape.
Along with Carton were African runners Bealy Tigist, winner of the cross in Le Mans and Birthukan Adama, the reigning champion in Hannut.
But Carton just had too much left in the tank as she completed the 6km course in 22.04 ahead of Tigist from Bahrain with 22:20 and Dejaeghere in 22:26.
In the men’s race, the Belgian youngsters couldn’t challenge the elite foreign runners. Ethipia’s Dame Tasama who has been living for more than 5 years in Belgium and Balew Birhanu of Bahrein, second last week in Le Mans, took the lead from the start.
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Tasama made the decisive move 300m from the finish to win the race.
Further back, Belgian Isaac Kimeli won the battle for fourth place against Reid Coolsaet of Canada.
1. Dame Tasama (ETH) 32.52; 2. Balew Birhanu (BHR) 32.54; 3. Bernard Brett (KEN) 33.30; 4. Isaac Kimeli (Bel) 33.33; 5. Reid Coolsaet (CAN) 33.34; 6. Thomas De Bock (BEL) 33.39; 7. Jonathan Taylor (GBR) 33.45; 8. Dries Basemans (BEL) 34.07; 9. Jesse Stroobants (BEL) 34.15; 10. Dean Lacy (GBR) 34.17
1. Louise Carton (BEL) 22.04; 2. Belay Tigist (BHR) 22.20; 3. Veerle Dejaeghere (BEL) 22.26; 4. Birthukan Adamu (ETH) 22.40; 5. Rebecca Murray (GBR) 22.43; 6. Viola Jelagat (KEN) 22.48; 7. Veerle Van Linden (BEL) 22.49; 8. Rachel Felton (GBR) 22.50; 9. Hanna Vandenbussche (BEL) 22.52; 10. Agnieska Mierzejewska (POL) 23.00