Emily Chebet of Kenya wins the senior women's race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Bydgoszcz, Poland, on Sunday 24 March (© Getty Images)
There are just two weeks to go to the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Guiyang 2015 on Saturday 28 March and Emily Chebet has confirmed that she will defend the senior women’s title she won two years ago.
Chebet had a good start to the year at two high-quality IAAF Cross Country Permit meetings in Spain during January, winning in Seville and finishing second in the Basque town of Elgoibar, but could only finish 14th at the Kenyan trials in Nairobi last month.
Nevertheless, the Kenyan selectors had enough confidence that the two-time champion, who won when the Polish city of Bydgoszcz staged the IAAF World Cross Country Championship in 2010 and then 2013, was able to mount a good defence of her title that she was still added to the team.
"I have been running in Europe and the change in weather affected me at the trials. I could not adjust to the hot conditions in Nairobi so quickly after the cold weather in Europe," Chebet told local reporters last week.
"I also had an allergy and the hot conditions did not help. I struggled to keep pace with the leaders. I am glad I was handed a wild card for the event in China and a chance to defend the title I won in 2013," she added.
Final entries for this year’s championships close midnight in Monaco on Monday (16) and it will then become clear who Chebet’s main rivals will be.
As previously announced, preliminary entries suggest this year’s championships will be bigger than the past three editions.
Nevertheless, Kenyan team officials expect to be taking a big medal haul home after the championships.
"We have a very good squad for the event but I expect the usual competition to come from Ethiopia and Eritrea. They are going to push us all the way," said Kenya team coach David Leting, looking back at the fact that Kenya dominated the last IAAF World Cross Country Championships, winning three of the individual titles and two of the team contests.
The 2013 junior men’s and women’s silver medallists, Leonard Barsoton and Agnes Tirop, have quickly made their marks in the senior ranks and stepped up to be included in the Kenyan teams in that category this time around.
The IAAF website has a special section devoted to the championships.
Coverage of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Guiyang 2015 will include live results, previews, reports, features, a live blog and extensive coverage on the IAAF social media outlets.