Great Performance by Kenyans in Bydgoszcz, by Justin Lagat, note by Larry Eder

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The 2013 World Cross Country Championships, held yesterday, March 24, 2103 in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Justin Lagat, our Kenyan correspondent, gave us his perception of the Kenyan performances in Poland. The conditions were tough, and Kenya did well in the women' senior and junior, men's junior and had a tough time in the men's senior team title.....

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GREAT PERFORMANCE BY KENYANS IN BYDGOSZCZ, by Justin Lagat



First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to the Nation Media Group in Kenya for providing free live coverage of the IAAF world cross country championships event to Kenyans via their TV station, Qtv. It was the only station that did that today in Kenya, and coupling this with their recent launch of a sports magazine, called Sporton, and having Lornah Kiplagat, the famous long distance runner, as one of its columnists, I think they are doing the right thing for the running sport in the country. Other media houses should emulate them.


The 12km senior men's event was the most interesting event to watch. Unlike the other races, it wasn't a competition between the usual two countries. For the first six Kilometers, a huge crowd was able to maintain its grip on the leading pack. I could see US, Australian, Ugandan, Eritrean, Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes all exchanging the lead. 


Even with less than a kilometer remaining, four countries were still with a possibility of winning the individual title. There were still five athletes in the lead: Two Ugandans, a Kenyan, Ethiopian and an Eritrean. It was a tense moment.


About 400 meters to the finish line, Japheth Korir of Kenya began to open a gap, leaving Iman Merga of Ethiopia and Teklemariam of Eritrea to battle it out for the second place with the two Ugandans, Kipsiro and Toroitich following closely behind.


Although Kenya won the individual title in the senior men's race, Ethiopia won the team title followed by USA. Kenya settled for the third place. There were two accidents that may have cost the Kenyan team the title. One of the athletes fell down in the second lap, then some athlete stepped on Jonathan Ndiku's running shoe and he had to step out of the race. Anyway, I guess cross country is not only about running alone, but being careful to avoid falls and jostling as well.


There was a different scenario in the senior women's race in which the field soon became a contest between the Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes barely before the first one kilometer was over. Five Kenyans and three Ethiopians dominated the leading pack early in the race before Hiwot Ayalew of Ethiopia began to surge forward at a higher speed that forced the pack to disintegrate into a single file.  Kenya's Emily Chebet maintained some distance behind her until the last 200m when she was able to catch up with her and sprinted to the finish. Kenya took the team title followed by Ethiopia and Bahrain took the third position.


Like he did at the national trials in Nairobi, Kenya's Leornard Barsoton maintained the lead for most of the second half of the race, only to be outsprinted by Hagos Gebrewit towards the finish. Ethiopia took the team title, Kenya became second while Morocco completed the list of top three.


Faith Chepng'etich did not disappoint the many predictions fans had made about her chances to win in the junior women's race as she led her compatriot Agnes Tirop to win the first two positions. Ethiopia's Alemitu Heroye managed to prevent a podium sweep for Kenyans by pushing Caroline Kipkirui to the fourth position. Kenya took the team title here followed by Ethiopia, then Britain in the top three positions.



6km Junior Women:


1

130

Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon

KEN

17:51



2

135

Agnes Jebet Tirop

KEN

17:51



3

77

Alemitu Heroye

ETH

17:57



4

129

Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui

KEN

18:09



5

71

Ruti Aga

ETH

18:18



6

81

Sofiya Shemsu

ETH

18:20



7

124

Rosefline Chepngetich

KEN

18:21



8

127

Sheila Chepngetich Keter

KEN

18:21



9

73

Buze Diriba

ETH

18:29



10

76

Alemitu Hawi

ETH

18:35



11

126

Pauline Kaveke Kamulu

KEN

18:43


 

8km junior Men:


1

97

Hagos Gebrhiwet

ETH

21:04



2

137

Leonard Barsoton

KEN

21:08



3

95

Muktar Edris

ETH

21:13



4

75

Tsegay Tuemay

ERI

21:26



5

140

Conseslus Kipruto

KEN

21:40



6

102

Birhan Nebebew

ETH

21:42



7

69

Ghirmay Ghebreslassie

ERI

21:50



8

249

Dawit Weldesilasie

ERI

21:58



9

144

Ronald Kwemoi

KEN

21:58



10

138

Michael Bett

KEN

22:21



11

145

Moses Letoyie

KEN

22:28


 

8km senior women:


1

132

Emily Chebet

KEN

24:24



2

72

Hiwot Ayalew

ETH

24:27



3

80

Belaynesh Oljira

ETH

24:33



4

29

Shitaye Eshete

BRN

24:34



5

133

Margaret Wangari Muriuki

KEN

24:39



6

131

Janet Kisa

KEN

24:46



7

128

Viola Jelagat Kibiwot

KEN

24:46



8

28

Tejitu Daba

BRN

24:55



9

188

Juliet Chekwel

UGA

24:58



10

125

Irene Chepet Cheptai

KEN

25:01



11

134

Beatrice Chepkemoi Mutai

KEN

25:05



12

138

Salima El Ouali Alami

MAR

25:05



13

203

Neely Spence

USA

25:08



14

106

Fionnuala Britton

IRL

25:08



15

84

Genet Yalew

ETH

25:10


 

12km senior men:


1

143

Japhet Kipyegon Korir

KEN

32:45



2

101

Imane Merga

ETH

32:51



3

72

Teklemariam Medhin

ERI

32:54



4

229

Moses Ndiema Kipsiro

UGA

33:08



5

234

Timothy Toroitich

UGA

33:09



6

245

Ben True

USA

33:11



7

71

Goitom Kifle

ERI

33:16



8

14

Collis Birmingham

AUS

33:18



9

100

Feyisa Lilesa

ETH

33:22


10

236

Chris Derrick

USA

33:23



11

1

Rabah Aboud

ALG

33:28



12

146

Hosea Mwok Macharinyang

KEN

33:29



13

92

Abera Chane

ETH

33:31



14

90

Tesfaye Abera

ETH

33:35


15

142

Geoffrey Kipkorir Kirui

KEN

33:38




Well, the much awaited and highly anticipated cross country event is now over. Now that it has been turned into a biannual event, the next one will happen in 2015 in China. It leaves me wondering whether the long wait will serve to popularize the event more, or to kill it. 


With the long wait, I believe that most fans will get to 2015 when they have forgotten who the defending champions will be.

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