Kenyan men look to recreate Bydgoszcz magic

By evelyn watta
Mar 22, 2013
  • Philemon Rono is in the men's 12km race.(Photo:SNA File)

Bydgoszcz has a way of curing what ails the men’s 12km senior team. After a 10-year break Joseph Ebuya finally managed to reclaim the 12km senior title in 2010. This is one title that mattered most to the country.

Enough so that the cross country coaches who have led the Kenyan team takes time to explain just how much it mattered and should matter to the six runners charged with reclaiming the title in Poland on Sunday.

“We shall do better than we did in Bydgoszcz … yes we won the eight gold medals but we shall do something more especially in the 12km,”said Coach John Mwithiga ‘warm up’.

“There’s been a break of two years that makes it more intriguing, more competitive.” Ebuya will not be back to challenge for the title but in his absence there is a tenacious team led by cross-country trials winner Philemon Rono, Hosea Macharinyang’ a seasoned world cross country finalist in Fukuoka, Mombasa and Edinburg, junior medalists Geoffrey Kirui, the 10 000m bronze winner in Barcelona, Japheth Korir bronze medalist from the 8km race in Poland and double World steeplechase junior Jonathan Muia and Timothy Kiptoo the bronze medalist from South Africa.

“Looking at the entry list there are new runners…but in our team we have people who have cross country which could help us deliver,” reckoned Head coach Sammy Rono giving an indication of where the race could be headed.

We are out to prove our worth 

Korir is returning to Poland after missing out on a Barcelona ticket due to injury.

“We are going to fight for it, and our chance to prove to the world that we are the best after the low down in London. It’s my first 12km and I hope I can break in my debut,” said Korir.

World cross offers Kirui a chance to prove his worth after missing out on the Olympics 10,000m ticket finishing fifth in the Oregon race that was used to select the team to London,

He has been in imposing form this season winning the KCB Athletics Kenya series in Machakos, finished fourth in Kapswokwony, Embu and Kericho and qualified third for Poland.

“Looking at the entries these are people I have raced and on a good day I can surprise them,” reckoned Kirui the Africa junior 10000m champion. “I don’t fear names or titles, its my form that decides which has been excellent.”

“I think we can do what our colleagues did in 2010,we will be running pressure,” added Kiptoo.

It is likely that the duel for the gold would be a battle between the Kenyans and Ethiopians led by the defending champion Imani Merga with the Eritreans prowling .