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Farah foe Tanui the star name at International Cross Country

 

By Brian Hill

Rio Olympics 10,000 metres silver medallist Paul Tanui will race in Northern Ireland's 42nd International Cross Country at Comber in mid-January, which is part of an IAAF World Series.

This prestigious event moves to the Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council's Billy Neill Playing Fields after 10 years at the Greenmount venue.

Tanui (27), from Kenya, would no doubt consider GB's Mo Farah as his nemesis after many desperately close contests over the years. The UK's most successful ever middle distance athlete has always retained the edge over the Kenyan in frantic last lap dashes.

Paul has been the model of consistency over the years with no less than three World Championships bronze medals over 10,000 metres in Moscow (2013), Beijing (2015) and London last year. He was always behind inevitable winner Farah, who on each occasion finished a mere second or less ahead of him.

However, Tanui's most memorable race against Mo was in the 2016 Rio Olympics where Farah fell at the halfway point after a clash with Galen Rupp. Mo eventually struggled back to the leaders where Tanui made a desperate sprint to break clear in the final 300 metres.

He almost succeeded but Mo just edged ahead in the home straight to take gold less than half a second ahead of Tanui.

While Paul is renowned as a world-class track runner, he was also in fact eighth in the World Cross Country in Poland back in 2010.

Other names for Ireland's premier cross country event will be announced following this weekend's European Cross Country in Tilburg, where GB teams are expected to again dominate.

The Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council has made extensive ground preparations for this and the excellent drainage should provide a very fast course for January's event.

Previous participants in this International have included Steve Ovett, Steve Cram, Brendan Foster, Paula Radcliffe, multi World Cross country champion Paul Tergat and double European champion Fionnuala Britton.

Belfast Telegraph

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