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Athletics: Tafese in debut victory

In the absence of the title-holders Derek Hawkins and Freya Murray-Ross, who are both preparing for the London Marathon, two new champions emerged in the sunshine to great applause from the sizeable crowd at the Scottish National Cross Country Championships at Callendar Park, Falkirk.

But while the women's winner, 21-year-old Loughborough University student Beth Potter (Victoria Park, Glasgow), has virtually been weaned on the Central venue, winning five previous age group titles there, Wegene Tafese, an Ethiopian competing in the event for the first time and wearing the colours of Ron Hill Cambuslang Harriers, certainly broke new ground.

The first African to win the title, Tafese, who is in his first season in Scotland and finished second in the West District event, came from behind to defeat international hill runner Robbie Simpson (Deeside) over the 12 kilometres in 38 mins 40 secs with Simpson 15 seconds behind and Joe Symonds (Hunter's Bog Trotters) third, a further seven seconds back.

Potter, meanwhile, won a fascinating battle with previous champion and clubmate Susan Partridge and Rosie Smith (Hunter's Bog Trotters).

Ross Matheson (Lass-wade) used his 1500m track speed to outsprint Dave Vernon (Victoria Park) in the men's under-20 race while Banchory's Rhona Auckland took the women's title.

Sandy Sutherland

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