NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
World Cross country champion Agnes
Tirop of Kenya has endured two years out of competition since
her win in Guiyang, China in 2015.
A right leg tendon
injury, which she picked up on her way to win gold in Guiyang,
punctured her sails and derailed what looked to be a promising
career for the then 19-year old.
She has struggled to regain her fitness and stature in the
choking long distance field and World Cross Country
Championships in Kampala, Uganda on March 26 will offer her the
first major platform, globally, to stamp her authority.
"It is true I am nervous. It has been a while since I made
the Kenya team.
"You always wonder if you will come back strong and whether
your body will take the challenge.
"I have done well in training and now it is about time I
prove myself on the world stage again," she said Wednesday in
The Kenyan team has pitched camp in Embu for the last two
weeks training and hope to cross to neighbouring Uganda lay
siege on the medals as the cross country championships returns
to Africa for the fifth time after Johannesburg, Marrakech,
Rabat and Mombasa.
However, Tirop now 21 will not be expecting a walk in the
pack as she puts her title on the line in the Ugandan Capital.
There will be World 3,000m steeplechase champ Hyving Kiyeng
and Olympic 1,500m winner Faith Chepng’ etich Kipyegon to
There will also be Bahrain import Ruth Jebet, the Rio
Olympics champion in 3,000m steeplechase, and a horde of
Ugandans, Qatari, Eritrea and Ethiopian stars.
But Tirop is ready to take the challenge in her strides, just
like she did during the Kenyan trials where she finished fifth
behind Kiyeng, Kipyegon and Alice Aprot.
Meanwhile, the men’s 1,500m World champion Asbel Kiprop is
oozing in confidence he will overcome his enemies and fears as
he makes a return to the World Cross Country Championships for
the first time in 10 years.
Kiprop will be making the relay cross country team, a newly
introduced races of mixed races run like a relay event, after
his only show back in 2007 World Cross in Mombasa, where he won
the junior 8km cadre.
He has however, expressed his dislike of the event because of
the strenuous training and exercise the team goes through to get
"Back in 2007, I thought I was dying, sleeping on ice cubes
after the race in such humid conditions made me believe all
marathons are like the one in Mombasa.
"So I said I’ll never run in cross country again," he said.
But that will not deter him from making the team to Kampala
where he will feature in the 4x2km relay race.