Uganda, Ethiopia, and Kenyan stars set for showdown at World Cross Country Championship


Ugandan sensation Joshua Cheptegei leads a star-studded entry list for the upcoming World Athletics Cross Country Championship in Belgrade, as athletes from Kenya, Ethiopia, and beyond gear up for an exhilarating showdown on the challenging course.

With 245 athletes set to compete in the individual senior races, including 138 men and 107 women, and 187 athletes in the U20 races, the stage is set for a thrilling display of athleticism and determination.

Additionally, 12 countries will battle it out in the mixed relay event, promising a spectacle of international competition.

Kenya, boasting a formidable track record in cross country, aims to replicate its success from the last edition in Bathurst, Australia, where it topped the medal table with six gold medals.

Leading the charge for Kenya is Beatrice Chebet, defending her title in the senior women’s race after clinching world 5000m bronze on the track and the inaugural world 5km road race title in 2023.

Chebet will face fierce competition from compatriots Agnes Ngetich and Emmaculate Anyango.

Despite the absence of multiple Olympic and world gold medallist Sifan Hassan, the field remains stacked with talent.

Notably, Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo, winners of the past two senior men’s titles, are set to renew their rivalry.

Joining them is Ethiopia’s Berihu Aregawi, ensuring a highly competitive battle for supremacy. Kenya’s Sabastian Sawe adds further depth to the field, promising an intense contest.

In the U20 races, Ethiopia’s Lemlem Nibret and Abel Bekele, along with Kenya’s contingent, will be vying for top honors, setting the stage for a thrilling showcase of emerging talent.

The mixed relay event adds another layer of excitement, with defending champions Kenya fielding a strong squad led by Purity Chepkirui and Emmanuel Wanyonyi. Ethiopia, represented by Hagos Gebrhiwet, and the host nation, featuring Elzan Bibic, are poised to challenge Kenya’s dominance.

As anticipation builds for the championship, all eyes will be on Belgrade as athletes from across the globe converge to compete for glory. The final start lists, to be revealed on March 29, will offer insight into the lineup for this highly anticipated event.

PHOTO: World Athletics

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