Kenya wins gold, bronze in men's junior 8km cross country world championships

Cross Country

Kenya bags gold, bronze in World Cross Country Championships men's junior 8km

Photo credit: Ayumba Ayodi| Nation Media Group

Japan-based Samwel Kibathi led compatriot Mathew Kipkoech to gold and bronze in the World Cross Country Championships men's junior 8km race in Belgrade, Serbia, on Saturday.

Ethiopia’s Megzebu Sime timed 22:41 for the silver.

Mathew Kipkoech did the pacing for the better part of the race before Kibathi outsprinted Sime in the final lap to win gold in 22:40.

Kipkoech finished third in 22:46. Kenya's Johana Erot came in fifth, timing 22:49, with Charles Rotich (22:51) and Shadrack Rono (23:02) finishing the race in sixth and ninth positions, respectively.

“It was a tough race for me and we had planned well that I should run from behind and I’m glad because my compatriots were in front taking care of our rivals. In the last few metres, I had to surge forward though I was tired. I’m so happy to have won the medal for my country and also congratulations to my teammates,” said Kibathi, who trains in Japan.

It was a clean sweep for the Ethiopian athletes in the 6km junior women, with Kenya settling second in the team title.

The Ethiopian, Kenyan and Ugandan athletes stuck together in the first lap, with athletes exchanging leads before Ethiopia took charge and led to the tape.

Marta Alemayo won the race after clocking 19:28 ahead of her compatriots Asayech Ayichew (19:32) and Robe Dida (19:38), who took silver and bronze.

Kenya's Sheila Chebet, the national cross country junior champion, finished fourth in 19:45 after she was beaten in the final metres by Dida.

Diana Cherotich finished in fifth place after clocking 19:47, with Deborah Chemutai and Mercy Chepkemoi settling seventh and ninth, respectively.

Chebet said that the final kick was a big hurdle for her.

“It was a tough affair but we tried sticking with the Ethiopians but they managed to scuttle our plan. The pace was fast and in the final few metres, I couldn’t move anymore but I’m happy we are taking home the team silver medal,” said Chebet.