| Fadhil Yunus |
YOUNES Ammouta and Yvette Jacobine Maria Kortekaas successfully defended their National Day Run 2019 titles having been tagged as firm favourites in the men’s and women’s 10km open categories respectively at the Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien yesterday.
Younes finished the race with a time of 33.29s while Yvette clocked 44:59s to emulate similar success in the 2018 edition.
Overcoming a big field of runners with a common interest of dethroning the champion, Younes was the first to emerge in the final straight of the route while Yvette shrugged off a competition by her rival to seal a back-to-back victory.
Younes is a household name in the local running scene and his latest triumph bodes well for his preparations ahead of the upcoming KB Run, highly anticipated Borneo Open in April 7 and the Reintegration Run in April 14.
He has also set his sights on an appearance in a 10km event in Kota Kinabalu before the start of Ramadhan.
The victory in his third running event of the year came on the heels of his third place finish in a half marathon in Miri earlier this month.
“My preparations went smoothly. I managed to stay at the front in the start and kept like that until the finish line,” said Younes, who completed his third successive National Day Run, in an interview with the Bulletin.
The Moroccan’s final podium finish before he came to Brunei was a 10km event in 2016 in Frankfurt, Germany where he triumphed with a time of 29.25s.
With 23 years of experience, Younes previously represented Morocco as a teenager in the North African Championships and is a six-time Moroccan cross-country champion.
Meanwhile in the women’s open category, Yvette had second-placed Katherine breathing down her necks amid a crowd of the male 10km runners who were finishing the race.
“I was quite stoked because the second place finisher was right behind me. She (Katherine) pushed me the whole way,” Yvette said in an interview with the Bulletin.
“I thought I can go a little bit slower but there was no slowing down,” she continued.
“The guys (10km male runners) came right behind us so I constantly hear footsteps. So I was a bit anxious who was behind me. In the last corner, I turned around to check to see whether there is a lady behind me or not.”
Yvette has enjoyed success in the country including the Tasek and the Sungai Liang 15km trail run.
“It is nice to have a competition to run and I really like the National Day Run. It brings all the locals together and it is always nice having Bandarku Ceria around here,” said Yvette who has been in the country for eight years.
Asked on her preparations leading to the race, she replied, “I run about three or four times a week. Occasionally I do some track for technique and I do my road runs.”
Mohammad Samsul bin Zamri settled for second place with a time of 35:44s in the 10km men’s open with Muhammad Haziq Syazwan bin Hermanti coming in third with a time of 35:47s.
In the 10km women’s open, Katherine Jane Deuerlein finished second with a time of 45:14s, while Siti Fatimah binti Mohammad was ranked third with a time of 49:27s.
Local running star Sefli Ahar won the 10km men’s veteran with a time of 36:31s while Airince Liam secured the women’s veteran with a time of 49:16s.
Md Safwan Syazwan bin Haji Md Roney emerged winner of the teenage boys category with a time of 43:12s while Dayangku Nurul Aina Syafiqah won the teenage girls category with a time of 1:04.04s.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin presented the prizes.