Kampala, Uganda, Mar 26 – Geoffrey Kamworor prevailed over a tough competition from Ugandan Joshua Kiplimo to successfully defend the senior men 10km race at the 42nd IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Kampala, Uganda on Sunday.
The brilliant result meant the national anthem of Kenya was sung on the last event and see Kenya finish first in the overall standing with a total of 10 medals, four gold, three silver and three bronze.
Kamworor had to rely on a late break to win the men’s race in 28min 24sec, making him the first back-to-back winner since 2006 and the fourth Kenyan ever to retain the title after John Ngugi, William Sigei and legendary Paul Tergat.
Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei had led for most of the race, to the delight of the home crowd, with dozens of Ugandans running alongside him.
But there was drama as he collapsed in the final lap, eventually recovering to hobble over the line in 30th place.
Kamworor made no mistake with his perfectly-timed run, sprinting in ahead of Kenyan cross country champion Leonard Barsoton, with Ethiopia’s Abadi Hadis rounding out the podium.
“I was confident of retaining my title,” said Kamworor.
“When the Ugandan broke away, I kept my cool and ran my race. I knew he would get tired. His pace was so high and it would have been amazing if he had maintained to the end.”
Kamworor added: “From the start of the race I was really focused. I knew there were a lot of Kenyans who travelled overnight and I didn’t want to disappoint them.”