Justin Lagat asked me to post this ASAP. It is his column on the Kenyan team for World Cross Country. The Kenyan team left today to fly to Australia for the World Cross Country in Bathhurst, Australia.
Kenya is undoubtedly the most successful country so far at the World Cross Country Championships and the world is keen to see if they are going to maintain their dominance this weekend in Bathurst Australia.
Kenyan women have won the senior women’s individual titles in the past seven World Cross Country Championships editions, and pressure will be on the women to maintain that winning streak.
22-year-old Beatrice Chebet, the 2019 world U20 world cross country champion, 2022 World silver medalist, and Commonwealth 5000m champion, is a great addition to the team and carries high expectations for Kenyan fans.
Letensebet Gidey, 2022 Nike Pre Classic, photo by Kevin Morris
But Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey, the world 10,000m champion and a two-time past winner of the U20 world cross country title will be seen a significant threat to Chebet.
This time around, a relatively younger generation will represent Kenya in the senior women’s race, led by 19-year-old Grace Lobiach who won the race at the national trials in a dominant way.
21-year-old Edinah Jebitok had finished second ahead of Irene Cheptai, the 2017 World cross country champion, who is unfortunately not on the final list after picking up an injury in her training.
Others on the senior women’s team are Emily Chebet, Cintia Chepngeno, and Agnes Jebet Ngetich.
In the men’s senior race, the world is eager to see a rematch between Kamworor, Joshua Cheptegei, and Jacob Kiplimo – the 2019 podium finishers.
Geoffrey Kamworor, photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images for World Athletics
Kamworor had finished 6th at the national trials but was just getting back into running after battling a stress fracture he got after a motorbike accident in June 2020. The fact that the trials happened slightly over two months before the World Cross Country Championships could give Kamworor some extra time to build his confidence and make sure he is fully prepared to go for a third individual title.
Sabastian Kimaru won the men’s race at the trials after leading Daniel Ebenyo, Kibiwott Kandie, Emmanuel Kiprop, and Nicholas Kimeli in what promises to be a formidable team for Kenya at the Championships. If Kamwowror will need a pacesetter similar to Bedan Karoki, who played a significant role in helping him win his first gold medal in 2015, Simiu is another fearless runner who isn’t afraid to lead the race.
Reynold Kipkorir and Faith Cherotich, the men’s 1500m and women’s 3000m steeplechase world U20 champions from Cali, will lead the quest for individual and team titles in the men’s and women’s U20 races.
In the mixed relay, Kenya is taking a new team to the world cross event in the relays. Emmanuel Wanyonyi, Beatrice Chepkoech, Abel Kipsang, Brenda Chebet, Daniel Munguti, Mirriam Cherop, Mathew Kipsang and Betty Chelangat are the names in the team that will eventually form a squad of four for the relay race.
Ethiopia won the last mixed relay title in Aarhus, Denmark. Morocco was second, while Kenya, with Conseslus Kipruto, Jarinta Mawia, Elijah Manangoi, and Winfred Mbithe, was third.