Emily Chebet, flanked by Geoffrey Kamworor and Chris Derrick at the athletes' press conference - IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Guiyang 2015 (© Getty Images)
The IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Guiyang 2015 pre-event press conference took place at the Guiyang Olympic Stadium, China, with four of the expected leading participants in the senior races facing the media on Friday (27).
Kenya’s 2010 and 2013 world cross-country champion Emily Chebet was in positive spirits despite a mixed season so far.
Having only finished 14th at the Kenyan trials last month, Chebet admitted: “At the nationals, my body did not feel well but I have recovered now and am feeling confident.
“Participating in two World Cross Country Championships has taught me a lot in athletics and has helped me become a better runner.
“In 2010 I was very lucky to win gold. It gave me the experience I needed to compete for gold again in 2013, so I am hoping to repeat it tomorrow.”
Local hope Ding Changqin cannot wait to get on the course.
The Chinese athlete recorded a 2:26.54 personal best at the Chongqing Marathon last Sunday and is now looking forward to competing in front of a home crowd.
“I know the area really well and got a lot of training done here, so I have this as an advantage and I am hoping that I will be in good shape tomorrow,” said Ding.
I used to run cross country more than the marathon and I am very strong. I really love cross country so I don't think I will have any difficulty (after running a top class marathon just a week ago). I think I am capable of doing both well.
“Hopefully, I can use my home land as a lucky place for me to give a good performance and produce a good result tomorrow. A lot of my friends are volunteers and will be watching the competition. I hope I can bring my best performance for them. Many of my friends and family will be watching as well.”
Of course, the IAAF World Cross Country Championships isn’t the only major championship to be held in China this year, the IAAF World Championships will be held in Beijing this coming August and is approaching fast.
“I feel very honoured that during my career, China is hosting a World Championships and also a World Cross Country Championships in one year,” added Ding. “I hope we can have great performances on behalf of China and look forward to seeing (athletes from around the world) all here at the course.”
On the men’s side, Kenya’s 2011 junior winner and world half-marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor was joined by three-time US champion Chris Derrick, who finished 10th in 2013, helping the USA take the team silver medals.
“This is a world championship, so it’s not a competition between me and (Kenyan trials winner Bedan) Karoki or any other Kenyan," said Kamworor. "I will do the best I can to get the best result possible, but I can’t single out a specific competitor because I am trying to focus on my own race.
“We will do everything we can to improve on the (team) bronze position from the last World Cross Country Championships.”
Derrick and his compatriots defeated Kenya in 2013 but was careful with his predictions this time around.
“It’s going to be tough to replicate what we did last year simply because so many things went well (in 2013). I think it’s rare for things to go so well two times in a row, but I think the team is still strong."
More on Chris Derrick’s comments at the press conference can be read here.
Michelle Sammet for the IAAF