Defending champion Geoffrey Kamworor retained the men’s 10km title while Kenya won the overall title at the World Cross Country Championships at the Kololo Independence Grounds on Sunday. Kenya topped medal table with four gold, five silver and three bronze. Ethiopia were second with four, four one and hosts Uganda third with one gold and two silver. Kenya opened the day with three-time world 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop leading the mixed relay team to gold medal followed by Ethiopia and Turkey. But Uganda almost spoiled the party for the cross country giants with one individual gold medal that sent thousands of home fans, who included President Yoweri Museveni and First Lady Janet Museveni, who is also the country’s Minister for Education and Sports, to delirium, when they won men’s under 20 and almost won the senior men’s 10km gold medals.
Kamworor produced a masterstroke when Ugandan champion Joshua Cheptengei had taken off and opening a wide gap after the second lap, before withering and eventually missing medal finish, to retain the senior men’s title with Leonard Barsoton in second place. In the mixed relay, Kiprop opened a huge gap in the first lap, with Winfred Nzisa Mbithe and Bernard Kipkorir taking the cue before Beatrice Chepkoech finished with a fast anchor leg to earn Kenya, cheered on by thousands of fans, who crossed the border, to victory in 22:22. Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba finished the final leg in 22:30. Turkey, fielding an entirely Kenyan-born athletes, took bronze in 22:37. “It’s good and will remain in history that we won the first Mixed Relay. Going first, I knew I had to deliver this for the team so I had to run fast. The main challenge was that a little bit hot,” Kiprop, a three-time world champion over 1,500m told reporters. “It was good to return to cross country after 10 years. I won the junior race in Mombasa in 2007 and I am happy to have returned only to lead a Kenyan team to this historic win,” he said. Dibaba was gracious with her team’s silver medal. “We could have won gold but the our first two runners were a bit slow; they left me with a big gap to cover. However, I am happy with the silver,” said the 24-year-old sister of former Olympic champion Tirunesh.
In an unprecedented performance, Kenyan women swept the senior women’s 10km race, with national champion Irene Cheptai winning gold in 31:57 to lead the six athletes took the top six positions, but Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon finished sixth in 32:49, same time as Kenyan-born Bahraini Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion, Ruth Jebet, who was seventh.
Defending champion Agnes Tirop was relegated to fifth, while Alice Aprot and Lilian Kasait took silver and bronze.
Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey and led compatriot Hawi Feysa to gold and silver in the women’s under-20 race with Kenya’s Cellphine Chepteek Chespol taking bronze in 2:08. Uganda’s world under 20 bronze medallist Jacob Kiplimo won the men’s under 20 race in 22:40, the first ever cross country gold medal for the east African nation, whose most famous long distance runner is London 2012 Olympics and 2013 World marathon gold medallist, Stephen Kiprotich. Ethiopia’s Amdework Walelegn took silver in 22:43 and Kenya’s Richard Yator bronze in 22:52.
1. KENYA 22:22
2. ETHIOPIA 22:30
3. TURKEY 22:37
WOMEN’S UNDER 20
1. Letesenbet Gidey (ETH) 18:32
2. Hawi Feysa (ETH) 18:57
3. Cellphine Chepteek Chespol (KEN) 19:02
MEN’S UNDER 20
1. Jacob Kiplimo (UGA) 22:40
2. Amdework Walelegn (ETH) 22:43)
3. Richard Yator (KEN) 22:52
1. Irene Chepet Cheptai (KEN) 31:57
2. Alice Aprot Nawowuna (KEN) 32:01
3. Lilian Kasait Rengeruk (KEN) 32:11
4. Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi (KEN) 32:32
5. Agnes Jebet Tirop (KEN) 32:32
6. Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon (KEN) 32:49
7. Ruth Jebet (BRN) 32:49
1. Geoffrey Kamworor (KEN) 28:24
2. Leonard Barsoton (KEN) 28:36
3. Abadi Hadis (ETH) 28:43
WOMEN’S UNDER 20
1. Ethiopia 19
2. Kenya 20
3. Uganda 62
MEN’S UNDER 20
1. Ethiopia 17
2. Kenya 27
3. Eritrea 55
1. Kenya 10
2. Ethiopia 45
3. Bahrain 57