Kenyans ready to rock the world of cross country running

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Mar 27, 2015
  • Emily Chebet, flanked by Geoffrey Kamworor.(Photo by Getty Images for IAAF)

  • Geoffrey Kamworor at the press conference.(Photo by Getty Images for IAAF)

  • Emily Chebet speaks the press conference.(Photo by Getty Images for IAAF)

Kenya’s 2010 and 2013 world cross-country champion Emily Chebet was in positive spirits on the eve of her run on Friday despite a mixed season so far.

Having only finished 14th at the Kenyan trials last month, Chebet admitted: “At the nationals, my body did not feel well but I have recovered now and am feeling confident.

“Participating in two World Cross Country Championships has taught me a lot in athletics and has helped me become a better runner. “In 2010 I was very lucky to win gold. It gave me the experience I needed to compete for gold again in 2013, so I am hoping to repeat it tomorrow(Saturday),”said Chebet at the pre-event press conference took place at the Guiyang Olympic Stadium.

Despite the absence of Kenyan champion and two-time junior world cross-country champion Faith Kipyegon, it will be a tough ask for the other 25 countries in the senior women’s race to challenge the nation’s stranglehold on the trophy, which has remained unchallenged since 2009.

Besides Chebet, Agnes Tirop will be making her international senior debut, having taken silver in the junior race two years ago.

The two-time world junior 5000m bronze medallist also took the junior title at last year’s African Cross Country Championships and will play a vital role in Kenya’s ambition to win their fifth consecutive team title.

We are out to improve on the bronze, Kamworor

On the men’s side, Kenya’s 2011 junior winner and world half-marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor was joined by three-time US champion Chris Derrick, who finished 10th in 2013, helping the USA take the team silver medals.

“This is a world championship, so it’s not a competition between me and (Kenyan trials winner Bedan) Karoki or any other Kenyan," said Kamworor.

"I will do the best I can to get the best result possible, but I can’t single out a specific competitor because I am trying to focus on my own race.

“We will do everything we can to improve on the (team) bronze position from the last World Cross Country Championships.”

Derrick and his compatriots defeated Kenya in 2013 but was careful with his predictions this time around.

“It’s going to be tough to replicate what we did last year simply because so many things went well (in 2013). I think it’s rare for things to go so well two times in a row, but I think the team is still strong."

Karoki was one of the in-form runners in 2014 but in a fallow championship year, the Japan-based Kenyan didn’t leave as much of a mark as he might have done.

Among other accolades, Karoki won the Kenyan cross-country title, went unbeaten on the roads, and set PBs over 5000m and 10,000m.

Favourite Kenyans buoyant for junior races

In the juniors, the Kenyan team is lacking in substantial international experience but it would be unwise to write off their chances of individual and team honours.

From their team of six, only John Langat and Moses Koech boast some international credentials. Langat was fourth in the junior race at the African Championships last year while Koech, 17, will be making his second trip to China after winning bronze over 3000m at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing last summer.

Trials winner Dominic Kiptarus, who ran sub-8:30 for the 3000m steeplechase at altitude last year, will be making his first appearance in a Kenyan vest.

One particular runner to look out for though is Kenya’s Rosefline Chepngetich.

In her international cross-country debut in Bydgoszcz two years ago, Chepngetich produced a solid seventh-place finish and since then has moved from strength to strength.

Showing her dominance on the track by taking the 2013 world youth steeplechase title and then the Youth Olympic Games title over the barriers in 2014, as well as a world junior steeplechase silver in Eugene last summer, the 17-year-old comfortably took the Kenyan cross-country junior crown last month.

She also placed fourth at last year’s highly-competitive African Cross Country Championships and the two top finishers there, Kenya’s Agnes Tirop and Ethiopia’s Alemitu Heroye, have now left the junior ranks and both will be contesting the senior race in Guiyang.

Lining up for Kenya alongside Chepngetich will be 2012 world junior steeplechase champion Daisy Jepkemei.

 

Kenyan time Sex Event
7:00AM W Junior Race
7:30AM M Junior Race
8:15AM W Senior Race
9:10AM M Senior Race

 

Compiled from IAAF