Guiyang 2015: Kamworor, Tirop deliver senior titles for Kenya

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Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor maintained his unbeaten championship record and teenage sensation Agnes Jebet Tirop shined as Kenya took the men’s and women’s Senior titles at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships – Guiyang 2015 on Saturday March 28.

Using his trademark front-running tactics, added the senior men’s cross-country title to his junior title from four years ago, and his world half-marathon title from Copenhagen last year.

The 22-year-old Kenyan crossed the finish line in 34:52 to edge out his compatriot Bedan Karoki Muchiri (35:00), who outran him in the last 800m at the national Trials in Nairobi last month.

Ethiopian 5000m specialists (35:06) and (35:15) finished in third and fourth positions respectively.

Ethiopia and Kenya both finished with 20 points in the team standings but the Ethiopians secured the senior men’s team title under the tie-break rules as their fourth runner (35:47) finished seventh while the Kenyan fourth runner Phillip Kiprono Langat (36:05) ended up in 12th.

Bahrain claimed their first ever medal in a men’s event at the World Cross Country Championships with bronze in the team event courtesy of Aweke Ayalew and Albert Kibichii Rop 10th and 11th positions respectively.

Tirop comes of age at Guiyang 2015

Senior Race women's winner Agnes Jebet Tirop of Kenya at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Guiyang 2015 / Photo credit: © Getty Images for IAAF

Senior Race women’s winner Agnes Jebet Tirop of Kenya at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Guiyang 2015 / Photo credit: © Getty Images for IAAF

brought home Kenya’s 300th IAAF World Cross Country Championships medal and became the youngest senior women’s winner since Zola Budd in 1985.

Tirop, 19, the 2013 junior women’s silver and two-time world junior 5000m bronze medallist on the track triumphed by a five-second margin in 26:01.

Ethiopia’s Senbere Teferi crossed the finish line in 26:06 to claim the silver medal, five seconds clear of her compatriot Netsanet Gudeta, third in 26:11, while Ethiopian was fourth in 26:14.

The two-time world cross-country champion ended up in sixth place with 26:18, struggling in the final stages and eventually overtaken by compatriot Stacy Chepkemboi Ndiwa (26:16) before the finish line.

“I am very happy to have won Kenya’s 300th medal,” Tirop said after her landmark victory. “I was trying to push the pace from the start. I had no fear, I was just trying to run my own race.”

“The Ethiopian (Teferi) tried to overtake me and tried to push me to get away, but I was strong and managed to hold on,” added Tirop.

Ethiopia won the senior women’s team title with 17 points to Kenya‘s 19 points to end their five-year winning streak in this category.

Uganda, the host country for the next World Cross Country championships – Kampala 2017, took third place for their first ever senior women’s medals, either in the individual race or in the team events.