- Kamworor has won the World Cross Country title twice
- He will come up against Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei
- The women’s charge will be led by Beatrice Chebet
Two-time Champion Geoffrey Kamworor will lead the Kenyan hunt for glory in Australia during this weekend’s World Cross Country Championship. Kamworor won the title in 2015 and 2017 in Kampala, Uganda, but failed to defend it in 2019.
And now, the Kenyan two-time New York City Marathon champion is looking to wrestle back the title.
“I have prepared well. We have been in Kigari (Embu) for a month and we have worked well to prepare and I can say we are ready as a team and I am ready as a person,” Kamworor said before the team departed to Australia.
He added; “I am not under any pressure because this will be my fifth time doing the cross country. The most important thing is that I have trained well and when I get to the race, I will do well.”
Done his homework on the course
The three-time World Half Marathon Champion says he has done his homework on the course in Australia and admits that though he expects it tough, he has already worked on hos to tackle it from his training in Embu.
“I have looked at the course in Australia and analyzed it and implemented it in training in Kigari. I expect to do well,” Kamworor noted.
He will be joined in a strong Kenyan team by Daniel Simiu, Kibiwott Kandie, Nicholas Kipkorir, Emmanuel Kiprop and Kimaru Sawe.
Simiu and Kandie are experienced young athletes and they will also be keen on ensuring the title goes to Kenya.
Meanwhile, the biggest competition they expect is from 10,000m world record holder Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda. Kamworor beat Cheptegei in 2017 when the World Cross was staged in Kampala, Uganda.
Cheptegei’s compatriot Jacob Kiplimo, who took silver in 2019, is also in Bathurst, meaning the full podium will be reunited.
“It’s exciting that the people who shared the podium in 2019 are all back here. I know it’s going to be mind-blowing and will be something that will stay in our hearts and minds for a long time,” said Cheptegei.
Meanwhile in the women’s race, the charge will be led by Commonwealth Games 5,000m champion Beatrice Chebet, two-time World Cross champion Emily Chebet, youngster Edinah Jebitok, Cintia Chepngeno, Grace Loibach wjo won the Kenyan trials and Agnes Jebet.
Beatrice woman to watch for Team Kenya
Beatrice will be the woman to watch in the race especially if her form from last year is anything to go by. She won the Commonwealth title, just after winning silver at the World Championships and gold at the African championships.
“I have prepared well personally and I feel that I am strong and ready to compete. As a team we are also focused to ensure that we bring the title to Kenya,” said Chebet.
The biggest threat for Kenya will be Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey.
The Ethiopian was in sensational form in 2020 and 2021, setting world records of 14:06.62 for 5000m and 29:01.03 for 10,000m. She had to settle for bronze at the Olympic Games at the longer event, but she prioritised global honours over records in 2022 and was rewarded with her first world title on the track, winning the 10,000m in Oregon in a nail-biting race.
The 24-year-old is now focused on winning her first individual senior world cross-country title. She won back-to-back U20 crowns in 2015 and 2017