Kamworor and Cheptai lead Kenyan cross country domination

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[March 27, 2017]  By Isaack Omulo

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Geoffrey Kamworor retained the men's title and Irene Cheptai led home five of her compatriots in the women's race as Kenya dominated the world cross country championships at the Kololo Independence Grounds on Sunday.

Kamworor became the first back-to-back winner of the senior men's 10km race for 11 years as he beat his team mate Leonard Barsoton by 12 seconds to win in 28 minutes 24 seconds.

Kamworor kept his nerve after Ugandan champion Joshua Cheptengei, the home favorite, had burst away from the field and opened a wide gap on the third of the five two-kilometer laps only to fade badly on the last circuit.

Ethiopia's Abadi Hadis took the bronze medal seven seconds behind Barsoton.

Earlier, Kenya's women had swept the senior women's 10km race in unprecedented fashion, with their team filling all the first six places, headed by national champion Cheptai, who maintained her season's unbeaten record to strike gold in 31:57.

She finished four seconds clear of Alice Nawowuna with Lilian Rengeruk taking the bronze a further 10 seconds adrift.

Kenya's day of dominance had begun with three-time world 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop leading the team to gold in the inaugural mixed relay race, followed by Ethiopia and Turkey.

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Kololo Independence Grounds, Kampala, Uganda - 26/03/17 - Kenya's Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor reacts as he crosses the finishing line. REUTERS/James Akena

Yet the hosts enjoyed their own crowning moment in front of the Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni when Jacob Kiplimo won the country's first-ever cross country gold in the under-20 race.

Kenya headed the overall medal table, winning four golds and nine in total, with traditional rivals Ethiopia second on eight and Uganda third.

(Editing by Ian Chadband)

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