Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega will aim to win the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Cross Country Permit race in Elgoibar for the second year when he takes to the start tomorrow.
The 19-year-old produced an impressive display in the Spanish town last year as he earned a dominant victory ahead of Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo.
Victory in Elgoibar was part of a successful 2018 for Barega, winner of a silver medal in the men’s 3,000 metres at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham.
He also won the men’s 5,000m at the Diamond League final in Brussels in an under-20 world record time, with his 12min 43:02sec placing him fourth in the all-time list.
Barega, however, began 2019 with a defeat as he placed second behind fellow Ethiopian Hagos Gebrhiwet at last weekend’s cross country race in San Giorgio su Legnano in Italy.
While Gebrhiwet is now focusing on the indoor season, Barega is seeking further cross-country success and will hope to clinch victory in Elgoibar.
One of his biggest rivals tomorrow could be Kenya’s Rhonex Kipruto, the reigning world under-20 10,000m champion.
The two runners have never raced against each other before, leaving their potential showdown as an intriguing battle.
Kenya’s Stanley Mburu and Spain’s Toni Abadía will also hope to feature at the front of the men’s race.
Hellen Obiri, the reigning world 5,000m champion, is the favourite in the women’s event.
The Kenyan could face competition from her compatriot Beatrice Chepkoech, the 3,000m steeplechase world record holder.
Turkey’s Yasemin Can, winner of the 5,000m and 10,000m at the 2016 European Championships, will hope to repeat her success at last weekend’s competition in Italy, while Uganda’s Stella Chesang could also prove a threat.
The women’s race is set to take place over 7.7 kilometres, with the men’s due to be held over 10.8km.