The 44th edition of the World cross country championships will be held on Saturday, February 18, 2023, in Bathurst, Australia.
Team Kenya is tuning up their last training before heading to Bathurst. It will be the second championship in Oceania after Auckland in 1988
As expected, many teams will set off early for acclimatization. The temperature in Bathurst is expected to be hot with the average humidity. Hence, it's pretty good for the athletes to be acquainted with the conditions early enough.
The naming of five times World cross country champion, Paul Tergat as an ambassador for the games will boost the tenacity of the team Kenya.
Perhaps the indelible mark left by the past heroes and heroines , will reverberate through their minds.
But one thing remains for certain. It will be difficult to predict team Kenya.
The team is made of youngsters and experience athletes .Geoffrey Kamworor and Emily Chebet are twice World cross-country champions, While Irene Cheptai won the 2017 edition in Kampala.
Sabastian Sawe and Grace Loibach represent the upcoming superstars. The duo won Kenya Athletics trials, during the selection of the team Kenya.
Daniel Simiu, Kibiwot Kandie, Emmanuel Kiprop, and Nicholas Kimeli will join Kamworor and Sawe in men's team. All look formidable and capable of overturning tables in Bathurst.
Grace Loibach, Ednah Jebitok, Irene Cheptai, Agnes Jebet, Violah Chepngeno, Emily Chebet, and Beatrice Chebet will wear Kenyan colours in 10km senior women.
Ethiopia, the Kenya arch-rivals will be banking on Letesenbet Gidey, the 5000m, 10000m, and half marathon World record holder. Whereas Berihu Aregawi, the 5km World record holder, will headline, the men's lineup.
Gidey and Argawi will be under pressure to perform, compared to Kimaru and Laibach who will be enjoying underdog status in Bathurst.
As Kenya and Ethiopia come to terms with accomodating Uganda at the higher tables, it remains to be seen whether the new powerhouse in East Africa will weather the storm at the 2023 World cross championships.
Uganda will be defending men's individual and team titles in Bathurst. Aarhus 2019 World Cross country championship in Denmark, saw Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda winning Gold and Silver medals respectively
Kenya and Ethiopia will be having one common denominator; to reclaim back the victory from Uganda. It will be a battle of supremacy among the three Eastern Africa countries.