World Cross Country:  Kenya reign supreme over rival Ethiopia to claim mixed relay glory in Belgrade

ATHLETICS World Cross Country: Kenya reign supreme over rival Ethiopia to claim mixed relay glory in Belgrade

Festus Chuma 16:00 - 30.03.2024

Kenya has regained mixed relay title with a commanding performance at the World Athletics Cross Country Championships.

Seven years after initial victory, Kenya has once again showcased its prowess in the World Athletics Cross Country Championships, held in Belgrade, Serbia on Saturday afternoon.

With a performance that left the crowd in awe, the Kenyan team dominated the mixed relay event, securing their title with a significant lead.

It was a race that saw Kenya finishing a full 28 seconds ahead of their closest rivals, Ethiopia, with Great Britain and Northern Ireland clinching the bronze, marking their first senior medal at the World Cross in two decades.

The race kicked off with intense competition, but it was Kenyan teenager Reynold Cheruiyot who quickly took the lead, setting a pace that was hard to match.

Cheruiyot, the world U20 1500m champion, demonstrated his strength and stamina right from the start. Despite a valiant effort from Uganda’s Hosea Kiprop in the first half of the circuit, Cheruiyot's lead was undeniable.

The following athletes, including Morocco’s Hafid Rizqy and Ethiopia’s Taresa Tolosa, remained in close pursuit, with Serbia’s Elzan Bibic also making a strong showing to the delight of the home crowd.

The drama unfolded further during the second leg when Virginia Nyambura of Kenya maintained a consistent lead over Ethiopia's Dahdi Dube.

The duo managed to distance themselves from the rest of the competitors, with Nyambura handing over a slender lead to Kyumbe Munguti.

Munguti's performance on the third leg was nothing short of spectacular, widening the gap and setting the stage for a Kenyan victory.

However, the race was not without its challenges. Ethiopia faced an unexpected setback when Adehana Kasaye accidentally stepped on the foot of his teammate Birri Abera during the exchange, leading to Abera losing her shoe.

This mishap resulted in a significant delay for Ethiopia, giving Kenya an even more considerable advantage.

Purity Chepkirui, running the anchor leg for Kenya, capitalized on the lead.

With an outstanding display of speed Chepkirui crossed the finish line in 22:15, securing the gold for Kenya.

Despite the earlier incident, Abera managed to finish strong, securing the silver for Ethiopia. Bethan Morley's impressive final leg ensured that Great Britain & Northern Ireland did not leave empty-handed, securing the bronze.

Teams from Morocco, Uganda, and France also put forth commendable performances, finishing closely behind the medalists.