Kenya Wins First Mixed Relay at the 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championships
Kenya’s mixed relay team secured its nation’s first gold at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships held on March 26 2017, in Kampala with an eight-second victory over rivals Ethiopia.
Asbel Kiprop took over the first leg as he set the pace over Ethiopia’s first leg runner Welde Tufa.
Kiprop ran impressively and reached the changeover zone at the 2km mark in 5 minutes 19 seconds where he handed over to Winfried Nzisa Mbithe while Tufa, passed the wristband to Bone Cheluke.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“I knew I had to deliver this for the team, so I had to run fast,”[/perfectpullquote]
Kiprop said. [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“It’s good and will remain in history that we won the first mixed relay.”[/perfectpullquote]
Mbithe’s fast pace pulled away while Ethiopia’s Cheluke’s run did less to close the gap and in the process, gave the Turkish team the chance to go in second position. However, Cheluke later re-took her second position with 600m to go.
Ethiopia left with World Indoor 3000m champion Yomif Kejelcha and 1500m world record-holder Genzebe Dibaba to run, the stage was set for an interesting third and fourth leg.
The Ethiopians went out hard to chase down Bernard Kipkorir Koros, closely followed by the Turkish relay in third, but Uganda’s Ronald Musagala, who initially was set to run the host nation’s final leg, surged from fifth towards the top three to the delight of the partially spectating home crowd.
Kejelcha closed the gap on Koros pulling away from Turkey and Uganda to leave the two nations to battle for the bronze.
Beatrice Chepkoech received the wristband from Koros with a 12 second lead over Kejelcha who later handed it to Dibaba.
Chepkoech, well aware of the threat of Dibaba closing in on her, kept glancing over her shoulder.
Despite working hard to close down the gap between herself and the Kenyan, Dibaba was unable to catch Chepkoech to the delight of many Kenyans.
Chepkoech crossed the line to take the first gold of the day for the Kenyan relay in 22 mins 22 secs, eight seconds clear from Ethiopia.
The battle for bronze went to Turkey (22:37), where Yasmin Can produced a strong 5:29 effort in the last leg. Hosts Uganda, finished in fourth (23:03), with Bahrain in fifth.
Featured photo: Kenya’s victorious mixed relay squad: Asbel Kiprop, Beatrice Chepkoech, Winnie Mbithe and Bernard Koros (Roger Sedres) © Copyright