Idriss Moussa Yousef produced a pacing masterclass to win on a day of brutal cross-country action in soaring heat at the Asian Beach Games here this morning.
The Qatari athlete won a grueling six kilometers race in which runners had to contend with 33°C temperatures as well as the draining effect of running on sand.
Yousef, who claimed the Asian junior title over 1500 meters in 2014, was happy to sit in a large pack for the first of three laps up and down the beach.
Running barefoot and wearing a cap, the 19-year-old gradually began to push-on, taking his three Qatari team-mates with him before breaking clear in the final kilometers.
He won in 19min 6.45sec as those behind him were punished for sticking with him for so long.
Vietnam’s Pham Tien San eventually finished second, 10 seconds back, while Qatar also took bronze courtesy of Incheon 2014 Asian Games 800m bronze medalist Jamal Hairane.
Fellow Qatari Ali Musaab Adan, a two-time Asian Junior champion in the 5,000m and 3000m steeplechase, was still alongside Hairane in the final kilometer before slowing to virtual walking pace and slumping to 11th.
He was eventually taken to hospital on a stretcher as he struggled to recover afterwards.
It was a far cry from the traditional image of cross-country running in muddy winter conditions.
The discipline was last held at an Olympic Games 90 years ago in 1924, despite more recent calls for it to be on both the Summer and Winter Olympic programs.
Pham Thi Hue won the corresponding women’s event today in a 1-2-3 finish for Vietnam.
She won the two-lap 4km race in 13:56.29 to cap a week which has also included her 20th birthday.
The only disappointment was the small number of five male and three female teams who entered.
Those absent included Bahrain, the nation who dominated cross-country competition at the 2014 Asian Beach Games in Phuket.
Vietnam also won men’s triple jump gold here this morning courtesy of Nguyen van Hung’s leap of 16.63m.
Thailand’s Pratchaya Tepparak took silver with 15.81 to the delight of their fanatical supporters, while The Philippines’ Mark Harry Diones managed 15.72 for bronze.
China’s men and Thailand’s women have also claimed respective double sculls titles this morning in coastal rowing at Bien Dong Park.
By Nick Butler
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz