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Koech beat Tergat in IAAF challenge

February 22, 1997

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) _ Twenty-eight-year old Paul Koech maintained his domination over two-time world cross country champion Paul Tergat, beating him for the third time this year in the IAAF World Cross Challenge meet Saturday.

Koech won the senior men’s race over a 12,000-meter course in 35 minutes 02.59 seconds with second for Joseph Kibor in 35:09.40 and third for Tergat in 35:23.01.

``In Kenya it’s not easy for one athlete to be on top for long because there are so many good athletes,″ said Tergat, the silver medalist at the Atlanta Olympics at 10,000 meters.

``We’ve had John Ngugi, William Sigei and many others, so to me losing to Koech is normal. I have also been having an injury but you see I’m a soldier and when we’re going for war you don’t tell your enemy where your injury is.″

Koech, who beat Tergat in Kenya’s Armed Forces meet and the national cross-country meet, hopes to extend the streak in the March 23 world cross country championships in Turin, Italy.

Kenyan Jane Omoro won the senior women’s division over 8,000 meters in 27:34.44 ahead of fellow Kenyan Sally Barsosio in 27:43.07.

Finland’s Annemarie Sandell, who in 1995 shocked the Kenyans by winning the World Junior Cross Country title in Durham, England, after training with the Kenya team, was 10th in 28:53.40.

The 20-year-old Sandell has been in Kenya for the past two weeks preparing for the worlds. She’s being coached by a former head coach of the national team, Mike Kosgei.

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