What you need to know:
- The event which has always been used to identify upcoming talents is expected to attract a good number of athletes who are preparing for upcoming track season
- Participants will compete in the 6km junior women’s race, 8km junior men’s race and 10km senior men and women’s race only
- Kiprop, who trains in Iten, Elgeyo-Marakwet County told Nation Sport he is looking forward to defend his title despite stiff competition especially from upcoming athletes
A battle of titans is expected on Sunday when athletes converge on Eldoret Sports Club for the 31st edition of Discovery Kenya Cross Country Championships which is one of the largest event in the country.
The event which has always been used to identify upcoming talents is expected to attract a good number of athletes who are preparing for upcoming track season.
The race is taking place after athletes have been in the cold for close to two years due to coronavirus pandemic and many will be expecting to shine as they kickstart their season.
In the past, the organisers used to start the race with kids events but that has been shelved since last year due to Covid-19 pandemic. Participants will compete in the 6km junior women’s race, 8km junior men’s race and 10km senior men and women’s race only.
According to national team coach David Letting, many athletes have shown interest of participating and it will be interesting to see if there will be new winners emerging from the race or the defending champions will carry the day.
“Preparations for this year's edition are complete and we are ready to welcome athletes to come and compete from all over the country. Registration for the athletes will start at 6.00am and we would like to urge those who are coming from other counties to find a place nearer to spend so that they can be here on time,” said Letting.
In last years’ event, Daisy Cherotich won the senior women's race in 33:53.6 ahead Eva Cherono, who clocked 34:01.9, while Eunice Chumba was third in 34:15.7.
In the senior men's race, Robert Kiprop bagged victory in 30:17.8 ahead of the 2020 edition winner Nicholas Kimeli, who clocked 30:20.8, while Rodgers Kwemoi was third in 30:25.3.
Kiprop, who trains in Iten, Elgeyo-Marakwet County told Nation Sport he is looking forward to defend his title despite stiff competition especially from upcoming athletes.
He participated in the National Cross Country Championships held last weekend at Lobo Village in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County where he finished in 20th position since he was not feeling well.
“I have recovered well now and my target is to compete well and defend my title. Competition is taking another dimension with upcoming athletes posing a challenge but I will do my best.
“My training has been good and I believe the past events I have participated in, has prepared me for the battle ahead,” said Kiprop who trains under Bro Colm O'Connel.
Kiprop is also preparing for the track season which starts next month and he has set his sights on the 5,000m where he wants to represent Kenya either at World Championships in Eugene, USA set for July or Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in August.
Dr Gabriela Rosa who has been attending almost all the editions said he is sad that he will not be travelling to Kenya to identify new talents.
He wished athletes competing on Sunday the best urging them to always give their best because sport is a unifying factor that will always bring people together.
“It has been exciting to host the cross country event for the last 30 years and it is sad I can’t travel this year to witness how the champions are made due to the pandemic but I want to wish all the athletes the best,” said Rosa.