Kamworor, Gidey to grace inaugural World Cross Country Tour

Sports SC Amina Mohamed greets marathon legend Eliud Kipchoge during the official launch of Memorial Agnes Tirop World Cross Country Tour at Lobo Village in Eldoret yesterday. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

Memorial Agnes Tirop World Cross Country Tour, scheduled for Eldoret next month has been officially launched.

Organisers said four-time world cross country champion Geoffrey Kamworor and world record holder in 5000m and 10,000m, Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia have confirmed participation in the world tour named after athlete Agnes Tirop, who was found murdered in her house last October.

The tour, the only one in Africa, was launched by Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed. The CS was accompanied by Athletics Kenya (AK) President Jack Tuwei and Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago.

Top athletes such as two-time Olympic Champions Eliud Kipchoge and Faith Chepng’etich as well as Geoffrey Kamworor were present.

Former World Under-20 10,000m champion Rhonex Kipruto, two-time world cross country silver medalist Leonard Komon, Alice Aprot (former 10,000m African champion), also graced the grand launch which happened at the venue.

“We will do all we can to make sure that our athletes and their events are fully supported,” Amina said in the ceremony also attended by legendary athletes Moses Tanui, Geoffrey Mutai and Ezekiel Kemboi.

Amina said the event is a recognition of Kenyan athletics talent who have succeeded in cross country.

“We are naming this tour after Agnes Tirop who should have been participating in it,” the Sports CS said.

Tuwei said athletes will earn points in the tour which takes place across the globe.

“One thing that I noticed in 2021, particularly at the Tokyo Olympics and the World Under-20, is that athletes are put under a lot of pressure when they are going to compete. When they lose an event, it is like they have killed someone. Let us not put our athletes under pressure this year,” Tuwei said.

Governor Mandago thanked the Kenyan federation for considering Eldoret as the event’s host, saying the region has a huge athletics fan base.

“I welcome athletes from all over the world to participate in this inaugural event, and also enjoy the warm climate of Eldoret and Rift Valley,” Mandago said.

Kipchoge said North Counties will prove to the world that it is the source of athletics champions during the cross country tour.