NAIROBI, Kenya, March 28 – Joseph Ebuya capped off one of the greatest days in Kenya’s cross country history by clinching the elusive individual senior men’s title in Bydgoszcz, Poland on Sunday.
It was also a personal triumph for Emily Chebet who pipped her compatriot and favourite Linet Masai to the senior women’s crown following a tremendous burst of speed in the final metres to winning in a time of 24:19.
Mercy Cherono lived up to her billing as the one to watch in the junior girls spearheading a Kenyan podium sweep while Caleb Mwangangi also a led a 1-2-3 finish in the junior men.
It was the first time since 1994 that Kenya had secured all individual titles in all four categories.
For Ebuya, it certainly was a day to remember as he ran the race of his life holding off runner up Teklemariam Medhin of Eritrea to bring the title back home since Paul Tergat in 1999.
Ebuya who stamped his authority 200m into the race crossed the tape in approximately 33 minutes.
Leonard Komon mounted a strong challenge to keep in touch with the race leaders but was just beaten to third place by Moses Kipsorio.
The much hyped battle between Masai and Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba failed to materialize as the race was dominated by the Kenyan contingent.
Kenya co-captain Lineth Chepkurui and Meselech Melkamu set the pace before proceedings were taken over by Masai and Chebet.
Dibaba appeared to be struggling with the pace of the leaders and never really threatened as she finished in fourth place behind her compatriot Melkamu.
Cherono was in a league of her own winning her race in a time of 18:47 ahead of silver medalist Purity Cherotich (18:54) and third place Esther Chemtai (18:55).
Last year’s winner Genzebe Dibaba finished in eleventh place.
Mwangangi pulled away from the rest of the pack to win the junior men in a time of 22:07 while Clement Kiprono (22.09) and Japhet Kipyegon (22.12) finished second and third respectively.
David Letting’s team may have retained its overall team title but Ebuya’s will also be certainly be fighting for space amongst Monday morning headlines.
Joseph Ebuya –KEN (33:00)
Teklemariam Medhin-ERT (33:06)
Moses Kipsiro-UGA (33.10)
Emily Chebet- KEN (24:19)
Linet Masai –KEN (24:20)
Meselech Melkamu-ETH (24:26)
Caleb Mwangangi-KEN (22:07)
Clement Kiprono-KEN (22:09)
Japhet Kipyegon-KEN (22:12)
Mercy Cherono- KEN (18:47)
Purity Cherotich-KEN (18:54)
Esther Chemtai- KEN (18:55)