March 24, 2017 By Sahr Morris Jnr
l-r Alusine Gbow, Isatu Turay & coach Joseph Kamara
Sierra Leonean duo; Alusine Gbow and Isatu Turay on Thursday departed the country’s shores for Kampala, Uganda to compete in the 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championships on Sunday.
The pair, who traveled along with Coach Joseph Kamara, will have to compete in the U-20n male and female category as the day’s competition is expected to attract over 557 athletes from 60 teams, a number that is said to surpass the figures from the previous six editions.
This year’s championship will also attract four athletes who are set to represent an Athlete Refugee Team in the mixed relay.
IAAF Cross Country Permit series, spread across seven meetings from November, 2016 to February, 2017, has whetted the appetite for the forthcoming championships and many of the top performers on the circuit are set to compete in Kampala.
Aweke Ayalew, winner of the men’s race in Burgos and Seville, will be aiming to win Bahrain’s first individual medal at the World Cross Country, having earned a team bronze medal in 2015.
Senbere Teferei, also a winner in Burgos and Seville, will be joined on the Ethiopian team by Muktar Edris, winner of the Campaccio meeting earlier this year. Teenager Selemon Barega, who triumphed at the Cinque Mulini meeting at the end of January, is Ethiopia’s leading hope of a medal in the U20 men’s race.
Uganda’s Timothy Toroitich, who won convincingly in Alcobendas last November, will captain the host nation’s team, while Almond Blossom winner Irene Cheptai forms part of a strong Kenyan senior women’s squad.