The Kenyan cross country team will leave the country today ahead of their participation in the World Cross Country Championships, which will be staged in Aarhus, Denmark.
The team was selected from the national cross country championships which were held in the country in early February. The selection process began with county cross country championships where top performers proceeded to the regional finals. Top athletes in the regional championships then proceeded to the national championships where the national team was then selected. The selection process has been hailed as it identifies top talents from wherever in the county.
This strategy of selecting the national team was only used for the first time this year. Athletics Kenya also confirmed that they will employ the strategy in other athletics events as well. “After the Cross Country Championships we shall move to the relay and track and field season and we hope the county governments will lend us support,” AK treasurer David Miano said when launching the county cross country championships.
Athletes will be hoping to give their best and ensure Kenya continues to dominate the biennial championships. Kenya’s athletics dominance at the global stage has in recent years faced a stiff challenge from neighbours Uganda and Ethiopia, as well as Kenyan ‘exports’ – athletes of Kenyan origin who have switched their nationalities.
The team leave the country confident that they will sweep all the main medals before them as they have done in numerous cross country outings. Kenya is the reigning global cross country champions and the team is confident that they will be retaining the title. Team Kenya officials and athletes have asked the fans to rally behind them in support.
According to head coach David Letting and team captain Geoffrey Kamworor, the team has had a good training spell for a month at the St Mark’s Teachers’ Training College in Embu County. All they need now is support from Kenyans for them to conquer the World again.
“We are appealing to Kenyans to rally behind us and pray for the national team. We are hoping for a good result. The team is ready and we thank God since the training has been good,” said Letting.
Kamworor, on the other hand, said that morale is good in the team, they have gelled well during their training camp and will compete as a cohesive team. “As we leave on Wednesday (today), we ask Kenyans to pray for us since we have done all what is humanly possible and what remains is just going there and compete,” he said.
“As the champion, I am proud of this team since the training was good and we had great teamwork. The morale is high and it is my hope to defend the title. We are going there as the defending champions and hope to repeat what we achieved in Kampala,” the captain added.
Among other stars in the team, fast-rising athlete Richard Kimuyang, who represented Kenya in last year’s World Cross Country Championships in Uganda, is expected to give a solid performance in Denmark.