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Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele Wins  Cross Country World Championship - 2004-03-21

Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia has captured an unprecedented third straight long-short course double at the cross country world championships in Brussels, Belgium.

Ethiopia swept the men's 12-kilometer race on Sunday, with Bekele finishing in 35 minutes, 52 seconds - a huge 18-second margin over his closest countryman Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam.

The 21-year-old Bekele won the short course race on Saturday with remarkable ease, and repeated his commanding performance on Sunday, despite rain and wind lashing the course along the Royal Palace. He now has a record seven individual cross country gold medals. Besides his three doubles, he also won the junior title in 2001. Bekele is also the reigning 10,000-meter world champion and is favored to take over from compatriot Haile Gebrselassie as the Olympic champion in Athens this year. In the women's short race, Edith Masai won her third successive gold medal, the only individual title for Kenya in a disappointing championships dominated by Ethiopia. She completed the four kilometers in a sprint finish, with a time of 13 minutes and seven seconds. Ethiopia also took the team gold, ending Kenya's streak dating back to 1986. Kenya finished second, followed by Canada.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.