Top 7 challengers ready to upset Beatrice Chebet at the World Cross Country Championships


Top 7 challengers ready to upset Beatrice Chebet at the World Cross Country Championships

Festus Chuma 08:00 - 28.03.2024

Pulse Sports highlights the seven elite athletes that are aiming to dethrone world champion Beatrice Chebet at the Belgrade Cross Country Championships.

As the World Athletics Cross Country Championships descend upon Belgrade on Saturday March 30, 2024, the spotlight shines not just on the city's historic charm but also on the fierce competitors ready to battle it out on its challenging terrains. 

The Kenyan dominance in the senior women's category is a narrative well-known, with the nation clinching the last eight titles consecutively. 

However, amidst this Kenyan stronghold emerges a roster of athletes, each with her own story of grit and grace, ready to upset the reigning order.

Here are seven formidable women poised to challenge Beatrice Chebet's reign.

Agnes Ngetich (Kenya)

Apart from Chebet, Agnes Ngetich is another beacon of hope for the country in the six women line-up.

Fresh off her record-smashing 10km run in Valencia, where she clocked an astonishing 28:46, Ngetich's form is nothing short of spectacular.

Her victory at the Kenyan Cross Country Championships, where she left even Chebet in her wake, sends a clear message: she is not just aiming for the podium; she is gunning for gold.

Emmaculate Anyango (Kenya)

Although not the focus of our list due to the constraint, it is imperative to acknowledge Anyango's meteoric rise. 

Her transition from a formidable competitor to Ngetich's closest challenger in Valencia, where she stopped the clock at 28:57, underscores her potential to be a disruptor in Belgrade.

Girmawit Gebrzihair (Ethiopia)

Leading Ethiopia's charge is the young and dynamic Girmawit Gebrzihair, whose prowess on the cross-country terrain was highlighted by her triumph at Ethiopia's national trial race. 

With a half marathon PB of 1:04:14 and the 2018 African U20 cross-country championship under her belt, Gebrzihair is no stranger to the pressures of international competition, making her a significant threat.

Tadelech Bekele (Ethiopia)

 The seasoned marathoner brings not just experience but also an indomitable spirit to the Ethiopian squad. 

Having previously shone on the cross-country stage and boasting a marathon best of 2:21:40, Bekele's inclusion is a strategic move by Ethiopia to bolster their chances against the Kenyan contingent.

Rachael Zena Chebet (Uganda)

Uganda's beacon of hope, Rachael Zena Chebet, has consistently proven her mettle, finishing as the top non-Kenyan/Ethiopian in previous championships.

 Her commanding win at the Ugandan cross-country title showcases her readiness to elevate her performance on the world stage and possibly secure a podium finish.

Karoline Bjerkeli Grovdal (Norway)

The Norwegian sensation, with her remarkable streak at the European Cross Country Championships, brings European hopes to the fore. 

Grovdal's track pedigree, coupled with her cross-country expertise, positions her as a formidable contender capable of challenging the East African dominance.

Francine Niyomukunzi (Burundi)

 After setting the national 10km record and showcasing her prowess on the World Cross Country Tour, Niyomukunzi is a dark horse ready to make her mark. 

Her evolution since the last World Cross signifies a competitor ready to leap from the shadows into the limelight.

Weini Kelati (USA)

As the US cross-country champion, Kelati carries not just her personal aspirations but also the hopes of a nation eager to break into the medal tally. 

Her endurance and tactical acumen will be key as she navigates the competition.

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