Kamworor, Tirop lead Kenya cross country domination

BEIJING – Kenyan athletes dominated the World Cross-Country Championships in China on Saturday, with Geoffrey Kamworor taking the men’s crown, while Agnes Tirop became the youngest senior women’s winner for 30 years.

Agnes Tirop (centre) became the youngest senior women’s winner for 30 years of the World Cross Country championships

Kamworor completed the 12 kilometre course in Guiyang, in China’s southwestern province of Guizhou, in 34 minutes 52 seconds – eight seconds ahead of Kenyan 5,000m specialist Bedan Karoki, while Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris finished third on 35 minutes six seconds.

Kamworor, who took the world half-marathon title in Copenhagen last year, emerged at the front of the pack 400 metres into the race and remained in the top two for much of its duration.

The victory cemented his position as the man for the big occasion, with him also winning the world cross country junior title from four years ago.

Kamworor will also relish over-coming Karoki – the man who beat him into second place at the Nairobi IAAF last month.

In the women’s eight kilometre race, 19-year-old Tirop seemed unfazed by a strong field which included compatriot Emily Chebet, a two-time winner.

The 2013 junior women’s silver medallist and two-time world junior 5000m bronze medallist triumphed by a five-second margin in 26 minutes one second.

She was challenged only by Ethiopia’s Senbere Teferi after the remaining runners dropped off the leaders one-by-one.

Teferi eventually faded in the final 200 metres of the race, crossing the line in 26 minutes six seconds, five seconds clear of her compatriot Netsanet Gudeta.

Tirop is the youngest senior women’s winner since an 18-year-old Zola Budd in 1985.

“I was trying to push the pace from the start. I had no fear,” Tirop said after her victory, according to information released by the organisers.

“I was just trying to run my own race.”