Longosiwa and Merga set for new year eve's face-off in Bozen/Bolzano

Thomas Longosiwa at the London Olympics 2012/ Photo: Cameron Spencer

With two weeks to the 38th edition of the international New Year's Eve Run BOclassic in Bozen/Bolzano (South Tyrol - Italy), the Organisers have announced an elite showdown between the Olympic 5000m bronze medalist from Kenya, Thomas Longosiwa and World Cross Country Champion Imane Merga from Ethiopia.

In the women's run, vice world champion Sylvia Kibet and last year's silver medalist Afera Godfay will probably give each other a hard-fought duel.

The BOclassic runs of 2010 and 2011 were each characterised by a gripping final spurt. Hopefully, this year's edition will again offer an exciting finish as Imane Merga, a strong sprinter, faces a serious rival with Thomas Longosiwa.

The 30-year-old Kenyan is Olympic bronze medal winner over 5000m of London 2012 and was only defeated by Mo Farah and Dejen Gebremeskel.  Also in 2012, Longosiwa ran his personal best of 12:49.04 and defeated Merga at the Zurich's Letzigrund.

Athletic manager Gianni Demadonna stated: "One who was nearly an Olympic winner, will also run for a victory in Bozen/Bolzano. Longosiwa is as strong sprinter as is Merga. This is going to be a very thrilling run."

American Scott Bauhs, who finished fifth in 2010, is also in the race, alongside Italy’s Olympic 3000m steeplechase finalist Yuri Floriani and Italian 5000m champion Stefano La Rosa.

Ethiopia and Kenya will contest for the title in the women's race.

Sylvia Kibet has her work cut out for a second win in Bozen/Bolzano (after 2007) with the 20-year-old Ethiopian Afera Godfay, who narrowly lost to double world champion Vivian Cheruiyot in 2011 her main competitor.

The Moroccan Btissam Lakhouad, World 1500m fourth placer in 2011, is again participating in the BOclassic after finishing only tenth in last year's run.

The highlights are the elite women's run (5 km) an men's run (10 km) starts at 3 pm with Live broadcast on RAI Sport 1.

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