Hassan and Kibet victorious in Brussels

Sifan Hassan continues her winning ways at Iris Lotto CrossCup as Andy Vernon finishes top European in men’s race

Sifan Hassan Belgrade 2013 (Mark Shearman)

Kenya’s Alex Kibet and Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands were among the winners at the Iris Lotto CrossCup in Brussels on Sunday, with a number of British athletes in action in the Belgian capital.

Andy Vernon was one of them, the Euro Cross bronze medallist clocking 31:25 over the 10.5km men’s course for sixth place and top European.

Going one better than the runners-up spot he claimed in Brussels 12 months ago, Kibet was the stronger in a sprint finish to pip Bahrain’s Albert Rop into second – 30:40 to 30:42. Kibet’s countryman Amos Mitei was third with 30:49.

Hassan, pictured above in Belgrade where she won the under-23 women’s European Cross Country Championships title two weeks ago, continued her fine form with 19:38 over the 6km women’s course.

While Ireland’s Fionnuala Britton, European cross country champion in 2011 and 2012, led for much of the race and was ahead at the final bend, Hassan proved her strength over the final few hundred metres, pulling away from the 2013 Euro Cross fourth-placer and Ethiopia’s Zewdnesh Ayele. Second place was claimed by Ayele in 19:43 with Britton one second behind in third.

Lorna Russell led home the Brits with 20:39 for seventh ahead of Chloe Richardson one second back in eighth. Rachel Felton also secured a top 10 spot with 20:45 ahead of Gemma Kersey with 20:57 for 11th.

Sisters Alex and Bobby Clay both won their respective races, Alex leading home Georgia Malir and Annabel Mason in a women’s under-20 race which had British athletes fill the top five spots.

With 14:28, Clay was seven seconds clear of Malir, while Mason clocked 14:53 for third. Maryse Haynes and Charlotte Taylor completed the top five with 14:57 and 14:58 respectively.

Bobby Clay dominated her race to finish almost 20 seconds clear of runner up Floor Michielsen of Belgium.

Jac Hopkins won the under-20 men’s race from Germany’s Jost-Lennart Heese, 19:40 to 19:47, with fellow Brit Calum Johnson third with 19:55.

» Full Iris Lotto CrossCup results can be found here 

Lavillenie clears 5.93m

Elsewhere this weekend, Renaud Lavillenie fired a warning ahead of the IAAF World Indoor Championships next March as he opened his indoor season by clearing 5.93m at a Perche Elite Tour meet on Saturday.

He attempted 6.04m, which would have been a French record, but failed his three attempts. However his winning clearance, which he managed on his first try, was more than enough to see him finish ahead of his compatriot Kevin Menaldo with 5.65m.

Sweden’s Angelica Bengtsson cleared 4.49m to win the women’s competition.

» For further results from Aulnay see here

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