Cheruiyot, Masai to lead African charge in Edinburgh
By JOSEPH NGURE and IAAF
Reigning World track champions, Vivian Cheruiyot and Linet Masai, will lead the African challenge for victory at the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country IAAF XC Permit Meeting next month.
Winners of global gold medals over 5,000m and 10,000m at last year’s Championships in Berlin, the Kenyan duo are no strangers to the testing Holyrood Park course, where they will compete on January 8, 2011.
Cheruiyot has already made four appearances at the Edinburgh event, finishing runners-up on two occasions, with a third place position also under her belt.
Masai, who has IAAF World Championship Cross Country silver and bronze medals to her credit, has an equally impressive record. She finished second in the 2008 race and clinched the title last year.
The 21-year-old is already in great form, having won two high-profile Cross Country events on the European Circuit; the Cross de l’Acier and Course de l’Escade.
"The field for the women’s six km race is definitely coming together with the signing of these two world class performers," said Peter Riley, the meeting’s elite athletes’ coordinator.
Tremendous track season
"Cheruiyot is returning for a fifth time after a tremendous track season, where she enhanced her pedigree when winning the Commonwealth Games’ 5,000m gold medal. Earlier, she achieved even greater accolades when capturing the IAAF Continental Cup crown and overall Diamond League title over the distance. Let’s not forget as a past world junior champion, she is a highly successful cross country runner and has performed consistently in the annual IAAF Permit Meetings in recent years."
"Linet will be arriving in Edinburgh having already shown great cross country form this season and I’ve no doubt both will feature prominently again in this year’s race," Riley said.
The presence of Cheruiyot and Masai will offer massive challenges to Freya Murray and Stephanie Twell, who will be leading the British challenge on home soil. Riley insists it will become even tougher.
Riley said: "I’m in negotiations to sign up several more big names for the race and I hope to reach agreement with managers and athletes in the next few days."
However, Ethiopia’s Olympic champion, Tirunesh Dibaba, a two-time Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country winner, doesn’t feature in his plans.
"She’s still recovering from injury so will not be defending her title."
The Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country will feature international men’s 4km and women’s 6km races.
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