The 2019 World XC Championships: What you need to know


Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor, winner of the 2014 world half marathon title in Copenhagen (PHOTO/Getty Images)
(FILE)Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor, winner of the 2014 world half marathon title in Copenhagen (PHOTO/Getty Images)

In Summary

  • The event is set to attract a total of 582 elite athletes from 67 countries which marks an increase as compared to the 2017 championship held in Kampala, Uganda where 553 athletes from 59 nations took part.  
  • In the senior category (10km men and women),  300 athletes will compete while 200 athletes will line up in the Under-20 races for the juniors (6km women and 8km men) as 10 teams face off in the mixed relay race.

With the clock ticking towards the 43rd edition of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships set for Saturday in Aarhus, Denmark we take a look at some of the facts to note ahead of the global event.

Entrants

The event is set to attract a total of 582 elite athletes from 67 countries which marks an increase as compared to the 2017 championship held in Kampala, Uganda where 553 athletes from 59 nations took part.

In the senior category (10km men and women),  300 athletes will compete while 200 athletes will line up in the Under-20 races for the juniors (6km women and 8km men) as 10 teams face off in the mixed relay race.

Star attraction

Like any other year,  this year’s competition is set to feature big names in each category beginning with the senior men race where defending champion Geoffrey Kamworor who has bagged two consecutive titles in the past editions will be in contention for a third title in a row.

However, the champion must be in his best to silence the strong field that also comprise of compatriot  and national champion Amos,  Ethiopia’s champion Mogus Tuemay as well as Under-20 defending champion Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda who has since shifted to the senior race.

Jacob Kiplimo winning the men’s U20 race, Uganda’s first gold medallist at a World Cross Country championships. (PHOTO/Roger Sedres/IAAF)
Jacob Kiplimo winning the men’s U20 race, Uganda’s first gold medallist at a World Cross Country championships. (PHOTO/Roger Sedres/IAAF)

It is also worth noting that the Kenyan team will face the strongest threat from the USA team led by their national champion Shadrack Kipchirchir. The American team is made up of five athletes of Kenyan origin.

In the women category,  World 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri is seen as the favourite having dominated the national trials but will nevertheless face off with her compatriots including the 3,000m steeplechase world-record holder Beatrice Chepkoech.

Also to watch out for are the Commonwealth Games 10,000m champion Stella Chesang of Uganda and Under-20 defending champion Letensebet Gidey of Ethiopia who will be making her maiden appearance in the senior level.

In the junior categories, double European champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen will be taking on the Kenyan contingent led by national champion Samuel Chebole and World Under-18 2,000m steeplechase champion Leonard Bett among others.

Elsewhere, World Under-20 5,000m champion Beatrice Chebet, Youth Olympic champion Sarah Chelangat of Uganda and Ethiopia’s Girmawit Gebrzihair – the Africa U-20 Cross Country champion  – are all seen as the front runners.

Athletics - 2018 IAAF World U20 Championships – women's 5000 m run – Tampere, Finland – July 10, 2018. Beatrice Chebet of Kenya celebrates. Lehtikuva/Kalle Parkkinen via REUTERS
Athletics – 2018 IAAF World U20 Championships – women’s 5000 m run – Tampere, Finland – July 10, 2018. Beatrice Chebet of Kenya celebrates. Lehtikuva/Kalle Parkkinen via REUTERS

Kenya will also be seeking to preserve the mixed relay title they won in Kampala, with the team banking on the experience of the World Champions Elijah Manangoi (1,500m) and Conseslus Kipruto (3,000m) to defend the title against other strong opponents in Morocco, Ethiopia and Uganda.

Prizes

The top six athletes in the senior category both men and women are set to be rewarded as follows: (Kenya shillings)

  1. 3,000,000
  2. 1,500,000
  3. 1,000,000
  4. 700,000
  5. 500,000
  6. 300,000

Teams

  1. 2,000,000
  2. 1,600,000
  3. 1,200,000
  4. 1,000,000
  5. 800,000
  6. 400,000

Mixed relays

  1. 1,200,000
  2. 800,000
  3. 600,000
  4. 400,000

The junior category athletes are however not entitled to receive prize money in the biennial event.

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Story By Gilbert Kiprotich
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