Rodrigue Kwizera and Rahel Daniel take Campaccio Cross Country Titles

Posted by: Watch Athletics

Rodrigue Kwizera from Burundi and Rahel Daniel from Eritrea clinched the win after thrilling races at the 66th edition of Campaccio in San Giorgio su Legnano, the tenth Gold level meeting of World Athletics Cross Country Tour. 

In the men’s 10 km race, European 10000 meters champion Yemanebrhan Crippa from Italy went to the front during the penultimate lap breaking up an eight-men leading group. Crippa could not pull away from Rodrigue Kwizera and Berhanu Balew, who launched their attack in the final 500 meters.

Kwizera stepped up his pace to break away from Balew, who managed to catch up with the Burundian athlete in the final straight. Kwizera edged out Balew by the narrowest of the match in a dramatic final sprint with the same time of 28:42. 

Kwizera claimed his fourth win in the World Cross Country Tour this season after finishing first in Amorebieta, Alcobendas and Venta de Banos.

Rodrigue Kwizera: “I ran for the first time in my career in Campaccio. It was exciting to run here, but it was a tough race. It was an excellent preparation for the World Cross Country Championships in Australia. I decided to launch my attack during the final lap. It was a very close and exciting sprint”.

Crippa’s brave effort was rewarded by a third place in 28:47. The Italian 10000m record holder had become the first Italian athlete to reach the podium at Campaccio since 2015, when Andrea Lalli finished second ahead of Daniele Meucci. 

Crippa improved on his previous best result at Campaccio, finishing fourth in 2019 and 2020. He held off 5000 meters world bronze medallist Oscar Chelimo, who crossed the finish line in fourth place two years after finishing third in the 2020 edition. Chelimo had beaten Crippa one week ago in the Boclassic 10 km race. 

Yeman Crippa: “Nobody took the initiative and I decided to push the pace during the fourth lap. I started dreaming about the chance to win the race, but Kwizera and Balew were stronger than me. I will train in Portugal before the Cinque Mulini. Then I will train at altitude in Kenya to prepare my debut over the marathon distance in Milan on 2 April”.

Egide Ntakarurimana from Burundi took fifth place in 29:08 ahead of Tunisia’s 3000 meters steeplechase specialist Mohamed Jhinaoui (29:12), Italian runners Yohannes Chiappinelli (29:18) and Iliass Aouani (29:44). 

Daniel wins the women’s race: 

Rahel Daniel and Margaret Kipkemboi Chelimo pulled away from Burundi’s Francine Nyomokunzi during the second of the three laps of the 6 km course. 

Chebet led the chasing group at the end of the second lap. 

The two African stars ran neck and neck in the final lap until Daniel launched her attack on the last uphill section of the course. Daniel broke away from Kipkemboi by two seconds to cross the finish line in 19:10. Kipkemboi clocked 19:12, repeating her second place in San Giorgio su Legnano from the 2020 edition. Chebet crossed the finish line in third place at 19:31. 

Daniel reached her second consecutive podium at Campaccio one year after finishing runner-up to Ethiopia’s Dawit Seyaum. 

Rahel Daniel: “It was fantastic to run the Campaccio and receive support from the crowd. I felt that this year it was colder than in 2022. I competed in San Giorgio su Legnano last year and was prepared for this course. I finished second, and I wanted to win today. I was in control until the last lap, when I launched my final sprint. I will run in Elgoibar this weekend. During the 2023 season, I will run the 5000 and 10000 meters on the road”. 

Two-time European Under 23 cross-country champion Nadia Battocletti tried to keep up with Daniel and Kipkemboi. Still, she could not respond to the attack of the African runners and was dropped to sixth place. The Italian athlete managed to claw her way back into fourth place in 19:38 with a strong finish in the final lap ahead of Nyomokunzi. 

Battocletti achieved the best result in San Giorgio su Legnano, improving on the sixth place from last year in her first senior race since graduating from the under-23 category. 

Nadia Battocletti: “I struggled a bit when the African runners overtook me during the second lap. Luckily I managed to bounce back in time to clinch fourth place. I received big support from the crowd. It’s nice to compete here. It’s like a family for me. My goal for the winter season is to compete at the European Indoor Championships in Istanbul. I will try to achieve the qualifying standard in the 3000 meters in Metz on 11 February.”

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