Beatrice Chebet retains World Cross title as Kenyans stage sweep

Beatrice Chebet

Beatrice Chebet crosses the finish line to win the women's 10km race at the World Cross Country Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, on March 30.

Photo credit: Courtesy | Reuters

The Kenyan senior women's team showed the rest of the world who the queens of long-distance running are after staging a sweep of the top five places in the World Cross Country Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, on Saturday.

Defending champion Beatrice Chebet retained her title in 31:05, while Lilian Kasait settled for silver in 31:08.

Margaret Chelimo took bronze in 31:09 as Emmaculate Anyango (31:24) and Agnes Chebet (31:27) closed the top five for the dominant Kenyans.

Cintia Chepngeno finished a distant 17th place, clocking 33:02.

Chebet, who trains in Kericho, said she is happy because they had planned to run as a team, and it worked well for them.

“It wasn’t an easy race and you know coming into the competition I wasn’t the favourite because I was fourth at the National Cross Country Championships. I believe what we did during the residential training was of great help because I managed to improve on my performance. I’m so happy,” said Chebet.

Kasait said that determination and hard work aided her to finish second in the competitive race.

“In Kenya, everybody is good and it was hard to predict who will win the race but the team work that we applied today was a determinant and I’m so glad for this medal,” said Kasait.

The Kenyans surged forward after the second lap, leaving the competitors gasping for breath, before stretching their lead to the finish line.

The dominance was bettered by the 2017 World Cross Country Championships, where the Kenyan women swept the top six positions.

Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei, also a World Athletics Vice President, was at the finish line to congratulate the team.

“The team has done well and we are really proud of their performance. The world has become competitive and taking the first five positions isn’t easy,” said Tuwei.