More than fifteen foreign athletes from eight nations are in the country preparing to compete along Kenyans during the last International Association of Athletics Federation Permit Cross-Country-cum national championships in Nairobi this Saturday.
The contests, to be held at Nairobi’s Uhuru Gardens on Saturday morning, will also witness the annual recurrent rivalry between the 16 Athletics Kenya conglomerates as they fight for trophies during the championships.
Six countries have already sent in names of their teams ahead of the championship which will also conclude the 8 IAAF sanctioned Permit Cross Country Meetings that started in Burgos, Spain on November 15th.
“The national championships are going to be a game changer as we welcome other countries to send their teams to Nairobi for the competitions. This will enhance the spirit of the sport,” said Athletics Kenya Chief Executive Officer Isaac Mwangi.
Uganda, the host of the last Africa Cross-country championships in 2014, is expected to mail the team this week with 2014 World Mountain Running Champion Isaac Kiprop and Soyekwo Kibet, a constant participant in local races in Kenya, likely to top the list.
Perennial foes Ethiopia have already registered the pair of Yigerem Demelash, the 2012 World Junior 10,000metres champion, and Birhan Mihretu who would be competing in the senior men 10kilometres and junior women 6Km respectively.
Burundi national cross-country champion Vianney Ndiho and Onesphore Nzikwinkunda will be representing Burundi while their neighbours, Rwanda, have tasked Felicien Muhitira and Beatha Nishimwe, last year’s Africa Youth 1,500metres champion, with the duties of flying the national flag during the Meeting.
Sudan will be represented by Fathi Ahmed Adam who will run in the senior men 10Kilometres and Abubaker Abdalla in the junior men’s 8kilometres during the race, the only one held in the Africa continent.
Apart from Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan, Tanzania has registered last year’s Bagamoyo Marathon Champion Gabriel Gerald and Angelina Daniel Tsere in the senior categories.
Seven IAAF permit Cross Country Meetings have been held since the series begun on November 15th in Burgos, Spain, San Giogiosu, Italy on January 6th, Edinburg (Great Britain) on January 9th and Antrim on January 16th.
Others were held on January 17th (Seville), 24th January (Elgoibar) and on January 31st in San Vittore Oloma, Italy.
Kenya will be using the Permit Meeting to select the team to represent the country during the 4th Africa Cross Country Championships slated for March 12th in Yaounde, Cameroon.
Media & Communication