Top athletes for Memorial Agnes Tirop World Cross Country Tour

Three-time world half marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor has confirmed his participation to the Memorial Agnes Tirop World Cross Country Tour on February 12 in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County.

Kamworor said during the launch of the race at Lobo village in Kapseret Tuesday that he will be happy to compete with other international athletes in honouring the departed Tirop.

“It was so sad to loose such hard working athletes and competing in the race next month will give me joy because she was my best friend in cross country. We used to encourage one another before the race and since she is no more, I have to compete and run well,” said Kamworor.

Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey the 5,000m, 10,000m and half marathon world record holder, will also line up in the women’s 10km race.

Forty invited athletes will grace the race with many Kenyan athletes expected to join the list once they are selected after the national trials which shall be held at the same venue in Eldoret.

Some of the races that will be taking place include 10km senior men and women, 8km junior men, 6km junior women, Under-18 6km boys, Under-18 4km girls, 2km boys and 1km for children and masters race. 

Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei said the race is the only one in Africa and the last one in a series of 17, adding that Eldoret was picked by World Athletics as one of its venues for the inaugural 2022 World Cross Country Tour. 

World Athletics introduced cross country tours races which will be subsequently categorised as gold, silver or bronze and will come with additional prize monies for the best performers.

Out of the $400,000 (Sh43m) prize money for the best performers, $75,000 (Sh8m) will be set aside for the best male and female runners in the cross country tour. 

“We decided to name the race after our hero Agnes Tirop who was murdered last year as one way of honouring her. The Local Organizing Committee is on top of things and we shall be able to deliver a world class event," said Tuwei.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed warned rogue coaches and agents who want to ruin the sport by fleecing athletes of their hard earned cash or introducing them to drugs.

“It is really sad we are mourning the champion today who was to compete in the race because of rogue people surrounding her career. Going forward we shall be able to vet those handling athletes because the report that I will be releasing next week has a lot of issues which have to be addressed immediately,” said Amina.

She further said that Kenya has shown the world her prowess in the sport and athletes should continue working hard and carry the country’s flag high in the forthcoming events.

posted Tuesday January 4th
by Bernard Rotich