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Bekele completes historic double in Japan

Written by: Staff

FUKUOKA, Apr 2 (Reuters) Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele completed a historic double by storming to the men's 12-kilometre title at the world cross country championships today.

The 23-year-old twice IAAF athlete of the year became the first man to win both the 4km and 12km titles five years in a row after adding to his triumph in yesterday's short race.

Bekele, the Olympic and world 10,000 metres champion, broke away from his closest rivals with a powerful finish, crossing the line in 35 minutes 40 seconds at Fukuoka's seaside course.

Fellow Ethiopian Sileshi Sihine took silver in 35:43 with Kenya's Marti Mathathi third in 35:44.

Bekele, who has set world records in the 5,000m and 10,000m in the last two years, took his tally of track, indoor and cross country titles to 18.

The Ethiopian's win in the long course race also matched the achievement of Kenya's Paul Tergat, who won the 12km title at the world cross country championships five years running from 1995.

Tergat never won the short race, which will be dropped at next year's world championships in Mombasa for both the men and women.

Last year's junior champion Gelete Burika Bati of Ethiopia won the women's 4km title in a time of 12:51.

Kenya's Priscah Jepleting Ngetich was second in 12:53 and Ethiopia's Meselech Melkamu third in 12:54.

Reuters PDS BD1716

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