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Kenya win both titles at Cross Country worlds

Geoffrey Kamworor Guiyang, March 29 (IANS) Kenya once again won both of the senior titles at the IAAF Cross Country World Championships here. Keny ...

Geoffrey Kamworor

Guiyang, March 29 (IANS)

Kenya once again won both of the senior titles at the IAAF Cross Country World Championships here.

Kenya's Geoffrey Kamworor on Saturday outraced his compatriot and winner of the country's qualifiers Bedan Karoki by eight seconds as the duo had a one-two finish in the men's 12 km race, reports Xinhua. Agnes Tirop, 19, clocked 26 minutes one second to win the women's race (8 km) in her international senior level debut.

Kamworor, 22, whose winning mark was 34 minutes and 52 seconds, was the winner of the junior event four years ago and also the reigning world half-marathon champion following his victory in 2014. Muktar Edris of Ethiopia finished third in 35:06.

Surging to lead from the very beginning of the four-lap event, Tiprop, the runner-up in the junior race two years ago set the pace for most of the time and crossed the line with a five-second advantage.

It was the 300th medal for Kenya at the IAAF world cross country championships since the launch of the tournament in 1973, and also the fifth straight women's title won by Kenyans at the biyearly tournament since 2009.

"I am very happy to have won Kenya's 300th medal," said Tirop. "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 tried to overtake me and tried to push me to get away, but I was strong and managed to hold on," added Tirop.

The Ethiopian Tirop mentioned above is Senbere Teferi, who was the only runner that managed to challenge Tirop in the race. She clocked 26:06 to take the silver while her compatriot Netsanet Gudeta finished third in 26:11.

Local hopeful Ding Changqin finished 16th, the highest place among Asian runners, but missed the chance to book a ticket for Beijing world championships with a two-second deficit.

According to rule, the top 15 finishers in each of the two senior events would be automatically included in the 10,000m events in Beijing worlds in August.

"It was such a pity. I tried to run with my own rhythm during the race but maybe I began to sprint for the finish a little bit late," said Ding, who set a personal best of 2:26.54 to win the Chongqing marathon just six days ago.

In the junior events, Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia won the women's 6km race in 19:48 while Yasin Haji, also from Ethiopia, clocked 23:42 to win the men's 8km race.

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