Humbled Giant Kamworor Earns Team Kenya World Cross Wildcard

Feb 23 - by SPN Correspondent for SportPesa News

Two-time senior men champion and titleholder gets a chance to go for the hat-trick as AK rolls out Aarhus 2019 squad in Eldoret on Saturday

Beatrice Chebet (left) on her way to winning the junior 6km national cross title at Eldoret Sports Club on Saturday, February 23, 2019. PHOTO/Courtesy

  • Olympics, world and Commonwealth steeplechase champion, Conseslus Kipruto as well as Elijah Manangoi who is the reigning world and Commonwealth titleholder in 1500m are the other luminaries will also feature in the star-studded squad after making the team for the Mixed Relays
  • Super-charged Obiri fronts the Kenyan challengers to succeed Kampala 2017 winner, Irene Chebet Cheptai who will not defend her crown after taking a maternity break, in the corresponding senior women 10km
  • Kenya topped the table in the 42nd edition of IAAF World Cross Country Championships held in Kampala, Uganda in 2017 with 12 medals (4 gold, 5 silver, 3 bronze). The country also dominated senior women and mixed relay races

ELDORET, Kenya- Titleholder and two-time World Cross senior men champion, Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor and women 5000m world and Commonwealth titleholder, Hellen Obiri will lead the Kenyan charge at the 43rd edition of IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark on March 30.

Olympics, world and Commonwealth steeplechase champion, Conseslus Kipruto as well as Elijah Manangoi who is the reigning world and Commonwealth titleholder in 1500m are the other luminaries will also feature in the star-studded squad after making the team for the Mixed Relays. 

Kamworor, who was stunned to fifth in the senior men 10km showdown at a packed Eldoret Sports Club earlier on Saturday, was given wildcard entry to chase his hat-trick having brought the Holy Grail of the World Cross home at the Guiyang 2015 and Kampala 2017 editions of the events.

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The encouraging news for the three-time World Half Marathon gold medallist on a day of high drama and intense competition as the national cross champions unfolded at the self-styled City of Champions for the first time ever is that Kamworor went on to win the biggest prize despite after being beaten at home.

Japan-based Amos Kirui who took the honours on a cool afternoon in the senior men race will now carry the melting pot pressure of lining up at Aarhus as the Kenyan champion with World Under 20 10,000m gold medallist, Rhonex Kipruto, who was among the pre-race favourites before being forced down to sixth also earning the wildcard. 

Evans Keitany, who took surprise silver behind Kirui, men 1500m sensation Rodgers Kwemoi- the elder brother of new national men Under 20 cross champion Samuel Chebole- and Richard Kimunyan complete the senior men 10km line-up.

“I’m glad to be part of Team Kenya for the Denmark competition, I  promise to return with any medal from the event,” Kirui underlined.

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Super-charged Obiri fronts the Kenyan challengers to succeed Kampala 2017 winner, Irene Chebet Cheptai who will not defend her crown after taking a maternity break, in the corresponding senior women 10km.

“It will be my first time competing in this competition globally and I promise to run my own race just like I have done today,” Obiri underscored.

Unprecedented sweep

World women steeplechase record holder, Beatrice Chepkoech who finished third during the trials, Kampala 2017 bronze winner, Lilian Kasait, Deborah Samum and Eva Cherono are the other athletes who will be hoping to emulate the unprecedented Kenya 1-6 sweep at the last edition of the World Cross in Uganda.

Part of the mammoth crowd that witnessed the National Cross Country Championships at Eldoret Sports Club on February 23, 2019. PHOTO/Courtesy

Chebole, who stalked his opposition before pouncing for victory in the men Under 20 showdown is the other half of the first sibling act in Team Kenya for the World Cross since Moses and Linet Masai made the Amman 2009 squad.

Emmanuel Kiprotich, Leonard Bett, Edwin Koskey, Charles Karuri and Kibet Kandie also made the cut as Kenya seeks to reclaim the title that eluded them in Kampala where home athlete, Jacob Kiplimo, powered to victory.

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Tampere 2018 women 5000m under 20 champion, Beatrice Chebet, will hunt for another global crown in Denmark in the women 6km event where Kenya will also be out to win back the title that went to Letsenbet Guiday of Ethiopia in Uganda.

Betty Jepkemoi, Jackline Rotich, Agnes Mwikali, Lydia Jeruto and Mercy Chepkorir round-off that cast. 

The Guiyang 2015 senior women gold medallist, Agnes Tirop and Winfred Mbithe who was part of the Kenyan winning quartet at Kampala 2017, Charles Natwa and Jarinter Mawia will join Manangoi and Kipruto in the Mixed Relays race that was introduced to the World Cross menu in Kampala to critical acclaim.

Deputy President, Dr. William Samoei Ruto who graced the cutthroat trials flanked by host governor, Jackson Mandago and fellow county chiefs Stephen Sang (Nandi) and Alex Torgos (Elgeyo Marakwet), pledged Government support to the selected team that will report for residential training in Kigari, Embu on March 1 under head coach David Letting.

“You will be facilitated to make your practice successful, kindly go to Denmark and make Kenya proud. We will give you the support needed to achieve this,” Ruto noted.

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Kenya topped the table in the 42nd edition of IAAF World Cross Country Championships held in Kampala, Uganda in 2017 with 12 medals (4 gold, 5 silver, 3 bronze). The country also dominated senior women and mixed relay races.

-Report by Mutwiri Mutuota and Erick Ochieng

Aarhus 2019 World Cross Team Kenya 

Junior women 6km

1. Beatrice Chebet 20:02

2. Betty Jepkemoi 20:31

3. Jackline Rotich 20:40

4. Agnes Mwikali 20:42

5. Lydia Jeruto 20:44

6. Mercy Chepkorir 20:47

Junior men 8km

1. Samuel Chebole 24:10

2. Emmanuel Kiprotich 24:18

3. Leonard Bett 24:25

4. Edwin Koskey 24:26

5. Charles Karuri 24:31

6. Kibet Kandie 24:34

Women senior 10km

1. Hellen Obiri 33:15

2. Beatrice Mutai 33:24

3. Beatrice Chepkoech 33:55

4. Deborah Samum 34:06

5. Eva Cherono 34:10

6. Lillian Kasait 34:14

Men senior 10km

1. Amos Kirui 29:51

2. Evans Keitany 29:57

3. Rodgers Kwemoi 29:59

4. Richard Kimunyan 30:00

5. Geoffrey Kamworor 30:03

6. Rhonex Kipruto 30:08

Mixed Relays

Conseslus Kipruto

Elijah Manangoi 

Charles Natwa

Jarinter Mawia

Winfred Mbithi

Agnes Tirop