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Alice Aprot eyes Kampala challenge for world cross country

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- African cross country champion Alice Aprot is timid over her expectations at the world cross country championships in Kampala, Uganda on March 26.

Aprot, 23, is returning to Kampala after she excelled at the continental event hosted in the Ugandan capital back in 2014. However, she is doubtful of her fitness as she started training just a month ago after she graduated from the Kenya Prisons Warders training school.

“I was doing police training at the Prisons training school. But I still managed to run well and made third position in the national trials. However, running in Kampala, will be different because Kenya team is very competitive and so will be Uganda and Ethiopia.

“I need to be at the top of my game. The championships in Kampala have come a month too early for me. But I’m not giving up. I will fight hard for gold,” said Aprot Thursday in Embu, where the Kenya team, has pitched camp.

Aprot wants to emulate her senior brother Joseph Ebuya, who in 2010 in Punta Umbria, Spain, won the senior men’s world cross country title. She also remained confident Kenya will win the team title after losing it at the last championships in Guiyang, China.

With 10 days to go the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has announced the event in Kampala will be the biggest edition of the championships since 2006. An expected 557 athletes from 60 teams are set to compete in the one-day event surpassing the figures from the past six editions.

Those figures include the four athletes who are set to represent an Athlete Refugee Team in the mixed relay. Guided by team leader Tegla Loroupe, the squad includes Olympian Paulo Amotun Lokoro, who was part of the Refugee Olympic Team in Rio last summer.

In total, 13 teams are set to contest the mixed relay, the latest innovation for the oldest IAAF World Athletics Series event. Each team comprises two men and two women, who will each run a two-kilometer circuit.

The 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 races in Burgos and Seville, will be aiming to win Bahrain’s first individual medal at the World Cross, 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 medal hope 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.




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