Uganda, Ethiopia rule junior races, Kenyans settle for bronze

By ronnie evans
Mar 26, 2017
  • Jacob Kiplimo the winner of the men's U20 race, Uganda's first gold medallist at a World Cross Country celebrates with President Yoweri Museveni and the first lady.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

KAMPALA, Kenya settled for bronze medals in the men 8km and women’s 6km U-20 junior races won by Uganda and Ethiopia respectively at the World Cross Country Championships in Kololo Independence Grounds in Kampala.

It was a Kenyan and Ethiopian affair in the first of two laps of Sunday’s race with Kenya’s Sandrafelis Chebet, Cellphine Chepteek, Sheila Chelangat, Emmaculate Chepkurui leading a pack of eight with three Ethiopians also in the mix.

Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey and Hawi Feysa traded leads and stretched the Kenyans by the half way point to leave the duo along with Chepteek as the lone ranger for Kenya. Letesenbet turned on the afterburners to establish a five metre gap ahead of her compatriot. She sailed home to take the gold in 18:34 ahead of Feysa in 18:57.

Chepteek took the bronze after clocking 19:02 in her debut at this stage. She was pleased with her performance and hopes to improve going forward.

“I am happy to have finished in the top three because it is my first race in the World Cross Country championship. I pushed as hard as I could but the Ethiopians were too strong for me in the end. I would like to improve my endurance so that I can post better results,” Chepteek ex plained.

“The course was challenging because of the grown grass and many barriers. I am delighted with the victory. I want to compete at the World Championship in London later this year and this performance motivates me,” Latesenbet said.

Uganda bags historic cross gold 

In the men’s race Ugandan and home favorite Jacob Kiplimo upset the form book to clinch his maiden title in 22:40.

Kiplimo, roared by a packed Kololo Stadium had an impressive final lap with Ethiopian Amdework Walelegn finishing a close second in 22:43.

"Yes, yes, yes. I always thought I could win!"Kiplimo, the first Ugandan World cross country gold medallist offered.

Kenyan national champion Richard Kimunyan scooped the bronze after clocking 22:52.

“It was a difficult race given that the course was tough to navigate through. I had a good start but I faded towards the end,” Kimunyan said of the race.

Other Kenyans in the race were Amos Kirui (7th), Edwin Bett (8th) and Wesley Ledama (10th) managed to finish in the top 10 positions.

Results Women U-20 6km) 1.Letesenbet Gidey (Ethiopia)- 18:34, 2.Hawi Feysa (Ethiopia)-18:57, 3.Cellphine Chepteek (Kenya)-19:02

Men U-20 8km) 1. Jacob Kiplimo(Uganda) 22:40, 2. Amdework Walelegn (Ethiopia) 22:43, 3. Richard Kimunyan (Kenya) 22:52