Chebet dazzles in Kenya's decent outing at the World X Country Champs

ATHLETICS Chebet dazzles in Kenya's decent outing at the World X Country Champs

Abigael Wafula 07:11 - 18.02.2023

In total, the country managed to collect three gold medals, one silver and two bronze medals.

Kenya kicked off the World Cross-country Championships in Bathurst, Australia with a win in the 4x2 km mixed relay as Ethiopia and hosts Australia settled for second and third places respectively.

Kenya prevailed in 23:14 as Ethiopia clocked 23:21 while the Aussies timed 23:26 to cross the finish line. South Africa, United States and Britain settled for the fourth, fifth and sixth places respectively.

South Africa’s Mafori Mphahlele led the team off to a good start as 2021 World Under-20 800m champion Emmanuel Wanyonyi was second in the first stage.

Australia and South Africa had put up a good fight in the first and second stages but Kenya assumed authority in the third stage courtesy of Kyumbe Munguti.

In the final stage, World 1500m champion Brenda Chebet took charge and propelled the team to victory.

In the women’s Under-20 6km race, the Kenyan trio of Pamela Kosgei, Faith Cherotich and Joyline Chepkemoi looked composed and were in the leading park for the better part of the race.

In their second lap, Ethiopia’s Senayet Getachew and Medina Eisa together with Kosgei and Cherotich broke away from the rest of the pack.

With the finish line in sight, Getachew and Eisa charged themselves up to take the first two positions in 20:53 and 21:00 respectively as Kosgei settled for third place (21:01).

Cherotich lost some balance a few meters away from the finish line and was forced to settle for fourth place in 21:10.

In the men’s category, Ishamel Kipkurui, against all odds obliterated the strong field to win the race in 24:29. Compatriot Reynold Cheruiyot placed second in 24:30. Ethiopia’s Boki Diriba settled for third place in 24:31. The men’s Under-20 title comes back to Kenya after 12 years on the road.

The women’s senior race was in a class of its own as it had attracted some of the elite athletes from across the globe.

For the better part of the race, the leading pack had more than 20 athletes but after 21:53 minutes, the Kenyan duo of Beatrice Chebet, Agnes Ngetich and Grace Loibach broke away from the rest of the pack. Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey and Tsigie Gebreselama were not left behind.

With one lap to go, Chebet was leading but Gidey put up a good fight and edged out Chebet to second place. With the finish line in sight, Chebet charged up and unleashed a strong finishing kick to clinch the title in 33:48.

Gebreselama took the second place in 33:56 as Loibach Ngetich clocked 34:00 to place third. Gidey could only manage a fourth-place (34:10) finish after her legs gave away meters from the finish line. 

The cross-country concluded with the men’s senior race which just like the women’s category, had attracted some of the finest athletes including defending champion Joshua Cheptegei and two-time champion Geoffrey Kamworor.

Cheptegei led the race for the better part as Kamworor, Kibiwott Kandie, and Daniel Simiu followed closely looking calm and composed. Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo was as well looking poised.

In the last lap, Kandie and Ebenyo dropped off as Ethiopia’s Berihu Aregawi was also fighting for a podium finish. Things took a turn when Kiplimo sprinted to take the honors in 29:17. Aregawi and Cheptegei settled for second and third places in respective times of 29:26 and 29:37.

Kamworor, Kandie, Simiu and Sebastian Sawe settled for fourth (29:37), fifth (29:57), sixth (30:01) and seventh (30:04) places respectively.

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