Triumph in the Snow: Jebitok and Nimubona Shine at Energyvision CrossCup Hannut

Posted by: Watch Athletics

In an exhilarating day of races at the World Athletics Cross Country Tour, the Energyvision CrossCup Hannut, held on Sunday, unfolded with remarkable feats. The event was marked by Edinah Jebitok's astounding third Gold-level tour victory of the 2023/2024 season and Yves Nimubona's groundbreaking triumph, becoming the first Rwandan man to clinch a win at this prestigious event.

Women's 9000m Race

Amidst the harsh, wintry backdrop of a snow-laden 9km course, Edinah Jebitok's performance at the Energyvision CrossCup Hannut was nothing short of spectacular. From the onset, Jebitok set a blistering pace, decisively pulling away from her fellow Kenyan competitors, Pamela Kosgei and Faith Chepkoech, in the initial kilometer. Her strategy was clear and bold: a solo run, setting herself apart from the pack.

As Jebitok surged ahead, the impact of her pace became evident. The field stretched out, with runners straining to keep up with her relentless speed. Kosgei, maintaining a consistent second position, trailed behind, unable to close the widening gap. Meanwhile, Britain's Megan Keith showcased a remarkable effort, overtaking Chepkoech after 6K to secure third place.

Jebitok's lead was unchallenged throughout, as she powered through the course, undeterred by the freezing conditions. Her victory was emphatic, crossing the finish line in a commanding 31:01. Kosgei followed in a comfortable second at 31:40, with Keith securing the third spot, eight seconds ahead of Chepkoech. Jebitok’s performance not only underlined her dominance but also set a high bar for the season.

Men's 9000m Race

In a gripping contrast to the women's race, the men's event at the Energyvision CrossCup Hannut was a showcase of strategic pack racing and nail-biting finishes. Yves Nimubona, etching his name in history as the first Rwandan man to triumph in this event, played a central role in the day's drama.

The race commenced with a tightly-knit group of five athletes setting the early pace. This pack included Nimubona, Eritrea’s Merhawi Mebrahtu, Kibet Kandie, Guillaume Grimard, and Rogers Kibet. The dynamics shifted rapidly, with Nimubona, Mebrahtu, and Kandie breaking away, forming a leading trio and pushing each other to their limits.

As the race progressed, the lead changed hands with Mebrahtu momentarily moving to the front, only for Nimubona to closely shadow him. The tension escalated in the final lap, with Kandie falling behind, leaving Nimubona and Mebrahtu in a thrilling head-to-head battle. In the closing stages, Nimubona's strategic acumen shone through. He reclaimed the lead with less than two minutes to go, unleashing a powerful sprint towards the finish.

Nimubona's victory was hard-fought and exhilarating, crossing the line in 28:29, just a second ahead of Mebrahtu. Kandie clinched the third spot in 28:42, narrowly edging out a fast-approaching Santiago Catroffe. Nimubona’s win was not just a personal achievement but a milestone for Rwandan athletics, marking a significant moment in the sport's history.

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