What you need to know:
- Their withdrawal has not dampened the Tour that will be brimming with Olympic and world medallists, who include 2015 World Cross Country silver medallist Senbere Teferi from Ethiopia among others
- Tour director Barnaba Korir said that both Gidey and Kamworor, who come from the same Global Sports Communication management and have been training in Kaptagat, withdrew on the eve of the race
- Zakayo said he feels great to be back running having recovered from a back and hip joint injury
Multiple world record holder, Ethiopia's Letesenbet Gidey and two-time World Cross Country champion Geoffrey Kamworor have withdrawn from Memorial Agnes Tirop World Cross Country Gold Tour due Saturday at the Lobo Village, Eldoret.
However, their withdrawal has not dampened the Tour that will be brimming with Olympic and world medallists, who include 2015 World Cross Country silver medallist Senbere Teferi from Ethiopia among others.
Tour director Barnaba Korir said that both Gidey and Kamworor, who come from the same Global Sports Communication management and have been training in Kaptagat, withdrew on the eve of the race.
Korir said Kamworor has been advised by his doctor to stay away from cross country events due to the injuries he sustained in an accident in 2020.
“Kamworor was eager to compete at home but he has been advised that he can only run on flat surfaces like on track or road races,” said Korir, adding that Gidey has not been given permission from home owing to the political situation in the country.
“Gidey will be one of our guests in Lobo and will make some presentations,” said Korir.
Gidey holds world records in 5,000m (14:06.62), 10,000m (29:01.03) and Half marathon (1:02:52) while Kamworor, who is a former World Half Marathon record holder, is the 2015 and 2017 World Cross Country champion.
Teferi, World 5,000m silver medallist Margaret Chelimo, 2018 World Under-20 5,000m champion Edward Zakayo and Belgian distance runner Dorian Boulvin were optimistic of a good show during the pre-event press conference at Boma Inn Hotel.
“I came here to pay tribute to the late Agnes Tirop whom we share a lot with,” said Teferi, who recalled how she lost to the history-making Tirop during the 2015 World Cross Country Championships in Guiyang, China.
Tirop made history as the second youngest woman to win the senior women’s race, beating Teferi to second place.
“It’s sad about what happened to Tirop and it should not be allowed to happen to another athlete, male or female again,” said Teferi, who also recalled how they competed together at Adidas race last year where Tirop broke the 10km world record.
Teferi said she is ready to compete against Kenyans as well as enjoy running at altitude.
Zakayo and Chelimo said they will not be under any pressure from the visitors.
“Pressure will only come from my rivals locally. It’s always like a world championships coming up against fellow Kenyans,” said Zakayo. “We understand our weather better than our visitors and we are conversant with the course having tested it during the nationals.”
Zakayo said he feels great to be back running having recovered from a back and hip joint injury.
Chelimo said it won’t be the first time they are facing off with the visitors hence no pressure to perform. “We shall take the challenge to them. Pressure will be on them,” said Chelimo.
Speaking during pre-race press conference, Athletics Kenya president Jack Tuwei said the event presented a good opportunity for international athletes to compete in the country with Africa and World Cross Country Championships having been cancelled this year.