Leornard Barsoton talks about the medal prospects for Kenya's senior men to the 2015 Guiyang World XC Championships, A view from Kenya, by Justin Lagat
Leornard Barsoton talks about the medal prospects for Kenya's senior men to the 2015 Guiyang world XC championships, by Justin Lagat
"It will be one very competitive race. That is what I can say about the 12 km event at the world cross country championships this year. I do not wish to make predictions as to who I think is the most likely to win the individual title, since you may name individuals then, someone else from a different country comes out of nowhere and wins it," Barsoton, the 2013 world silver medalist, then in the junior category, said. He is now as well the reigning African cross country champion in the senior men's event after winning the continental event early last year.
This time round, he is part of the Kenyan senior men's team to the world event. Most Kenyan fans have their expectations on either Bedan Karoki or Geoffrey Kamworor winning the individual title.
But, who knows?
Leornard Barsoton, Kenya XC 2015, photo by PhotoRun.net
Leornard Barsoton may surprise everyone again, just like he did in 2013 when, despite not having won at the Kenyan national trials, ended up becoming the only Kenyan who made it to the podium and considerably helped the country take the second position in the team ranking in the junior race. He will be competing again against Ethiopia's Hagos Gebrhiwet who had beaten him and won the gold medal in Bydgoszcz, both having now graduated to the senior category.
Speaking to RunBlogRun by phone while finalizing his training at their Kenyan national team's training base in Embu, Barsoton reported that their training has gone very well, perhaps even better than in 2013, because this time round they have been at the camp for a longer period.
"For me, it will be my first time attending the world cross country championships as a senior athlete. This will not be like the junior race because all athletes who have been graduating, over many years, to the senior race are all still there and the competition will expectedly be at a higher level. Everyone also is well prepared and eying the individual title. My main aim will be to finish in the top three podium positions," he said.
Kenya's senior men's team finished 3rd during the last edition of the world event in 2013 and Barsoton says that they have a plan to try and clinch the team title this time.
"Our main aim as the Kenyan team will be to assist each other to ensure that we win the team title. It will all depend on how the race plays out. If we all end up at the leading pack, we may decide to open a gap together against the others. It is difficult to know how the race will turn out, but we will all be there for each other doing whatever is possible for each other and communicating during the race," Barsoton said.
To allay the fears about the current weather differences between Kenya and China, that it may affect Kenya's performance there because the trials were done in hot weather and the race will be run in cold conditions, Barsoton says that the 2013 world event in Bydgoszcz was done in worse weather, but still Kenya topped at the medal table. "It is true that the weather will be a bit cold, but it will not be comparable to how it was in Poland," he said.
The excitement is building up and it is a matter of days before we see what happens in Guiyang, China.
I take this space to wish all the athletes who will be competing in this great event success.