Kenya Cross Country team in training session in Kigari, Embu County on March 15, 2017.[PHOTO:DENNIS OKEYO/STANDARD]

Kenya’s squad to next week’s 42nd IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Kampala, Uganda, has fired a warning shot to its competitors.

Yesterday, the athletes said they were ready to take on their challengers, a majority of them with Kenyan roots, when the games start at the Kololo Independence Grounds in Kampala.

Defending World Cross Country champions Agnes Jebet Tirop and Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor vowed to lead the Kenyan onslaught.

Jebet, who is making a comeback after a career threatening injury ruled her out of action since 2015, said she was in top form.

“I am confident we will beat them. We are well prepared for them. I know we will have Kenya A (the national team) and Kenya B (those who switched nationalities to other nations) in Kampala.

“But I am sure we will beat them squarely.

“They may think they have mastered our tactics, but let me tell you that we will surprise them.

“Wazi wazi ko chebane (Why should I be worried? I have confidence),” she said in Kalenjin after training on dusty roads in Runyenjes near Kigari, Embu, yesterday.

Bahrain, Turkey, Uganda, USA and Qatar have a majority of athletes with Kenyan origin.

Jebet, who comes from Kesses in Uasin Gishu County, said she is fired up for rivals Ethiopia.

“I am sure our team is strong enough to stop the Ethiopians. I will give it my best.

“I have the advantage of having competed at the course in 2014,” said Jebet, who won the junior Africa Cross Country title at the flat course in 2014.

The 22-year-old Jebet –who also anchored Kenya into reclaiming the overall women junior title at the IAAF World Cross-Country Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland in 2013 –comes from a family with a rich athletics pedigree, with her siblings Everline Jepng’etich and Mathew Ruto also competing in 5,000m.

“We usually encourage one another every time in training at home. It is my dream that we make the World Youth team with my younger sister,” said Jebet.

“I love athletics. Every time, I think of athletics. Even during Physical Education (PE) lessons, I do practice running.

“I do not engage in any other sport,” said Jebet.

Kamworor said he was in good form and expects to perform well.

“We have a strong team here.

“I am certain we will retain our individual and team titles in Kampala,” he said.

Head coach Juma Ndiwa said they would not allow athletes who had changed their nationality to ruin Kenya's party.

“We will not sit back and watch them take our medals,” he said.

Next Story
Michael Olunga set to re-join former Swedish club

Michael Olunga is set to rejoining Swedish club Djugardens IF from the Chinese Super League.

Kiplagat seeks to impress

Commonwealth Youth Games champion Davis Kiplagat has vowed to impress during the IAAF World Championships in London next month.

Malkia Strikers start chase for global ticket at Kasarani today

National women’s volleyball team, Malkia Strikers, head coach Japheth Munala has set his eyes on qualifying for next year’s FIVB World Championship in Japan as this year’s CAVB Zone V World Cup qualifiers serves off at the Kasarani Gymnasium, today.

Mourinho welcomes Africa Cup changes

Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho on Wednesday welcomed the decision to hold the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in June and July, calling it "perfect" for Premier League clubs.

Hart keen to retain England gloves

Goalkeeper Joe Hart says his loan move to West Ham United from Manchester City was aimed at getting regular playing time at club level to ensure he continues to be first choice for England.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger confirms Alexis Sanchez will return to training on Sunday

Arsenal playmaker Alexis Sanchez will return to Arsenal training on Sunday.

More Stories
Kiplagat seeks to impress

Commonwealth Youth Games champion Davis Kiplagat has vowed to impress during the IAAF World Championships in London next month.

Kenya presents youngest marathon squad for London Worlds on Sunday next week

Three Kenyan marathoners aged between 24 and 25 years will take on the world next Sunday at 12:55pm Kenyan time as they strive to win back the world title.

Prize money goes up in Standard Chartered 21km race

Competitors in this year’s Standard Chartered Nairobi 21km marathon have every reason to smile after the prize money was revised upwards.

Edna eyes third title in London: Marathon squad ready to battle for top honours with other athletes

Women charges seek to reclaim title lost to Ethiopia in Beijing 2015.

Focused on better tomorrow: Children parade for the IAAF Kids Athletics event

Event at Kenyatta University gives a glimpse of hope to upcoming stars.

AK to retain U18 team for 2024 Olympics

The Kenya national Under-18 athletics team that took part in the IAAF World Championships last week will be retained to prepare for the 2024 Olympic Games.

Joy riders: We will trim team bound for London, says Haron Komen

Not all the 104 athletes and officials who have sought visas will travel to the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships to be held in London from August 4 to 12, the Ministry of Sports has said.