Sirkwa Classic CEO Barnaba Korir (C), event director David Letting (lL) and LOC chairman Ibrahim Hussein during a press briefing at the Lobo Village/IMAGE courtesy

The Athletics Kenya Nairobi branch chairman Barnaba Korir has appealed to Kenyans to show up in large numbers and rally behind their favourite country men and women during the Sirikwa Classic World Athletics Cross Country Gold Tour set for Saturday at the Lobo Village, Eldoret.

The long serving athletics admnistrator who is also the CEO of the event  which was known as Memorial Agnes Tirop World Athletics Cross Country Gold Tour last year before being renamed said the overwhelming support by the Kenyans will demonstrate utmost honour for the 2015 World Athletics Cross Country Championships winner Agnes Tirop

’’We are almost there!! Just two more nights before the biggest race in the land.SirikwaClassic has attracted over 20 foreign and more than 350 athletes in the junior and senior races.A world class event brought right to your doorstep.Bring your family and friends’’ he said.

’’We hosted the World Athletics Under-18 Championships in 2017, World Athletics U-20 Championships in 2021 and the Kip Keino Classic Continental Tour and the Sirikwa Classic. Kenya has shown that it is capable of hosting more international races, and we want to perfect things as we move forward,” added the soft spoken Korir.

According to reliable sources, the family of Tirop who was murdered at her home in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County on October 13, 2021 did not want their daughter’s name used for the purposes of the World Athletics Continental Tour race.

Amongst those expected to participate in the Championships whose inaugral edition took place at the same place last year are Olympic and world 1,500m champion Faith Chepngétich who will take on multiple world champion Vivian Cheruiyot and 2009 world 10,000m champion Linet Masai in a star dominated competition.

“Cross country is where I started my running career and I am glad to be racing in Lobo and running the event after almost six years,” said Chepng’etich.I haven’t done my speed work yet ...what I have been doing is just a buildup but I am looking forward to a good race.” remarked the 28 year-old Chepngétich.

Reigning National Cross Country champion Charles Katul who has been included in the Team Kenya for the World Cross Country championships that will be held on February 18th in Bathurst, Australia, after finishing in ninth place last year in December is seeking to reclaim his title.

“Winning national trials gave me the morale to work hard in training and now I’m aware of the importance to stick to the training programme.At first, I had a problem with speedwork  before the trials, I trained hard and that is why I got good results,” noted Katul, who trains under coach Daniel Ngetich.

Others who have confirmed taking part include three-time world cross country champion Geoffrey Kamworor and world 3,000m steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech.

 Athletes from over 30 nations have already confirmed participation in the event, where the winners in the senior races will walk away with US$6000.

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