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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

History beckons for rivals Kenya, Ethiopia
at World cross championships

By John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya and Ethiopia will have no love lost as the two countries parade their best stars in Kampala, Uganda on Sunday for the World Cross Country Championships.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has confirmed that a total of 557 runners from 59 countries and regions as well as one refugee team, which had been training in Nairobi, will compete in the biannual event. The World Cross Country Championships is the oldest event in the IAAF history and will bring athletes as far as from Australia, United States, England, Canada and Poland.

Apart from Kenya and Ethiopia, who are the two most decorated countries in the history of the event, host Uganda, Eritrea, Japan, Qatar, Bahrain and United States may cause upsets with their athletes claiming the medals.

In a statement, IAAF said, the final entries will be confirmed on Saturday, as per the competition rules.

“The course is located at Kololo Independence Grounds, approximately three kilometers from Kampala city center. It hosted the 2014 African Cross Country Championships, and more recently, the Ugandan Cross Country Championships in January.

“The two-kilometer loop is mostly covered in grass. In addition to the two natural hills and a man-made hill, a ditch and other obstacles have been added to make the course more challenging,” read the statement.

The junior women’s race (U20) is made up of three laps, while the junior men’s will be held over four laps. Both of the senior races comprise five laps. Runners in the mixed relay will complete one lap each for a total of four laps per team.

This year’s event will mark the 42nd staging of the global cross country championships. It will also be the fifth time the championships will be hosted in Africa after Rabat in 1975, Johannesburg in 1996, Marrakech in 1998 and Mombasa in 2007.

A total of 310,000 U.S. dollars in prize money will be awarded to the leading runners in the senior races. Winners of the individual men’s and women’s races will each earn 30,000 dollars, with money paid out to the top six finishers.

In total, 140,000 dollars is on offer in the two senior races.

In the team contests in both senior races, there is another prize pool of 140,000 dollars, with 20,000 dollars going to the winning team, with prizes awarded to sixth place in both races, where the payout by the IAAF is 4,000 dollars.

There is also a total prize pool of 30,000 dollars on offer for the inaugural relay race, with 12,000 dollars earmarked for the winning team.

             

 

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