Kenya’s victorious mixed relay team from left: Asbel Kiprop, Beatrice Chepkoech, Winnie Mbithe and Bernard Koros on March 26, 2017. PHOTO | IAAF
BY EURIDICE NZIOKA,NAIROBI/26TH MARCH 2017-Kenya dominated the World Cross-Country Championships on Sunday, Geoffrey Kamworor defending his men’s title, Irene Cheptai leading a historic cleansweep in the women’s race and Asbel Kiprop helping to secure a third gold in the mixed relay.
Kamworor had to rely on a late break to win the men’s race in 28min 24sec, making him the first back-to-back winner since 2006.
Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei had led for most of the race, to the delight of the home crowd, with dozens of Ugandans running alongside him.
But there was drama as he collapsed in the final lap, eventually recovering to hobble over the line in 30th place.
Kamworor made no mistake with his perfectly-timed run, sprinting in ahead of Kenyan cross country champion Leonard Barsoton, with Ethiopia’s Abadi Hadis rounding out the podium.
Kenya proved to be even more dominant in the women’s race, Cheptai leading home five of her teammates for a first-ever podium cleansweep for the east African running powerhouse.
Defending champion Agnes Tirop placed fifth and Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon was sixth in the biennial event, the first major sporting showpiece held in Uganda, only the fourth African country to host the worlds in its 44-year history.