Kamworor, Cheptegei renew rivalry at Saturday's World X-country championships

ATHLETICS Kamworor, Cheptegei renew rivalry at Saturday's World X-country championships

Abigael Wafula • 08:58 - 17.02.2023

The race is expected to start at 10:30 a.m Kenyan time and 6:30 p.m Australian time.

The 2019 World Cross-country championships in Aarhus, Denmark lived up to its billing as Joshua Cheptegei took top honours with Jacob Kiplimo and Geoffrey Kamworor settling for second and third places respectively.

The trio return to Bathurst with thirst for more glory. Cheptegei is the Olympic 5000m champion and two-time World 10,000m champion and he will be looking to retain his World Cross-country title.

Kiplimo missed the senior title by just four seconds in Aarhus and will be coming back to make amends. Kiplimo is the World Half Marathon champion. Now he targets another global feat.

With the injury struggles now behind him, Kamworor will be hoping to reclaim his title, which he lost to Cheptegei in 2019. He is a former junior champion (Punta Umbria in 2011) and a two-time senior champion (Guiyang in 2015 and Kampala in 2017) in the cross-country.

Kamworor will be joined by compatriots Nicholas Kimeli, World Half Marathon silver medallist Kibiwott Kandie, Sebastian Sawe, Daniel Simiu, and Emmanuel Kiprop.

The Kenyan contingent will not have it easy with the presence of the Ugandan duo and Ethiopian runners.

The race has also attracted Olympic 10,000m champion Selemon Barega and world 5km record-holder Berihu Aregawi, both from Ethiopia who will also be looking to regain a team title claimed in 2013, 2015 and 2017.

Barega finished second in the Great North Run half marathon in September last year before starting his year with a win at the Elgoibar Juan Muguerza Cross Country. Aregawi, still only 21-years-old, finished fourth at the Tokyo Olympics in the 10,000m final.

Burundi’s Thierry Ndikumwenayo will be returning to Bathurst with the hope of improving his ninth-place finish from 2019. Compatriot Rodrigue Kwizera looks to be in good shape as he emerged as the overall winner of last season’s World Cross Country Tour and he will be looking forward to a podium finish.

The US team is led by national cross-country champion Emmanuel Bor, who has experience from competing at the 2019 edition in Aarhus, and he is joined by the 2017 11th-place finisher Sam Chelanga.

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