NAIROBI, Kenya, April 6 – The IAAF World Cross Country Championships will be held every two years from 2011. Athletics Kenya chairman Isaiah Kiplagat who is also an IAAF council member said on Monday that the decision was taken due to lack of countries bidding to host the annual event.
“The future of cross country is at crossroads. Very few countries are coming forward to bid for the championships,” said Kiplagat.
“Last year only Poland came forward to bid and this year it was the same which leaves us wondering what is going to happen in future to the sport,” he added.
Kiplagat said that the athletics governing body wants to see the strengthening of regional and continental championships so that by the time the world championships come round, countries have strong sides to compete in the event.
The World Cross Country championships has been held every year since 1973 with Kenya and Ethiopia dominating the event throughout its existence.
Julius Kirwa’s charges retained the time title and secured the women’s individual title for the first time in 15 years.
Kiplagat also announced that they have received from full backing from the government to give them the go ahead to organize next year’s Africa Athletics Championships.
“The government sent us a letter confirming us as organizers of the 2010 Africa Athletics Championships. We’ve already appointed the organisng committee and that committee will start work immediately,” said Kiplagat.
Kiplagat was speaking at an awards ceremony organised by national cross country championship sponsors Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) who awarded a total of Sh1 million to the team national team.
“I want to commend you for giving it your best shot and sustaining Kenya’s dominance in world cross country. You brought home three team titles which is a great achievement and we congratulate you,” said KCB Chief Executive Officer Martin Oduor-Otieno.
This year’s senior women’s winner Florence Kiplagat was awarded a total of Sh550,000- Sh250,000 from KCB and Sh300,000 from the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs.
The Ministry also awarded Sh200,000 to senior women’s silver medalist Linet Masai, junior men’s runners up Titus Mbishei and junior women’s runners up Mercy Cherono.
Junior women’s bronze medalist Jackline Chepng’eno received Sh100,000. The team’s technical bench also received cash rewards.