NAIROBI, Kenya, March 30 – Joseph Ebuya is still trying to come to terms with his stunning win in Sunday’s senior men’s race at the IAAF World Cross Country championships.
Ebuya who crossed the line in a time of 33 minutes said on Tuesday that his faith and Kenya’s past failures to win the gold acted as a motivator during the 12km event.
“I didn’t expect to win the gold but it was God’s will so I’m happy with that,” said Ebuya who together with the rest of the national team arrived to a rapturous welcome at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
“I was surprised that I took a big lead in the race but the Eritrean (Teklemariam Medhin) made it tougher,” said Ebuya.
Ebuya’s win broke an 11 year old jinx for Kenya who had failed to secure the senior men’s title since Paul Tergat in 1999 in Belfast.
Senior women’s surprise winner Emily Chebet was also at a loss for words at how she upset the formbook in Bydgoszcz.
“I don’t know where that kick came from. Masai (Linet) and I planned to get as far away from the Ethiopians as possible and it worked,” said Chebet who won the race in 24:19.
Mercy Cherono was delighted with her win in the junior women’s race and is looking forward to competing as a senior next season.
“I’m very happy because I won. We set a very good pace,” said Cherono.
Kenya coach David Letting believes the way the team trained had a lot to do with their dominant performance in Poland.
“Our preparations were up to date and everyone co-operated with each other,” said Letting.
“This is the most disciplined team I’ve ever worked with since I joined cross country. We also didn’t have any injuries to deal with,” he added.
Kenya produced one of the most memorable team displays in recent athletics memory by clinching eight gold medals.