Double World and Olympic champion Mo Farah has declined an invite by Athletics Kenya to participate in the IAAF Permit National Cross Country Championships at Uhuru Gardens on Saturday.
Athletics Kenya vice president in charge of logistics, Jackson Tuwei, said on Tuesday that they had invited Farah, who is currently training in Iten for his marathon debut on April 13 in London.
Speaking to Daily Nation Sport, Farah’s manager confirmed that the British athlete had been approached by AK but said he would not participate as his programme “cannot accommodate the AK Cross Country Championships”.
The manager, who sought anonymity, said having committed to the London Marathon, it’s almost impossible for Farah to take part in any other event.
“His programme is tight at the moment. There is no possibility of him taking part in any race before the London Marathon,” said the manager from Farah’s High Altitude Training Centre in Iten where he has pitched camp for four months ahead of his marathon debut.
AFRICAN CHAMPIONSHIPS IN KAMPALA
Kenya will this Saturday pick its squad for the Africa Cross Country Championships due March 16 in Kampala. Tuwei confirmed having received entries from several countries including Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda and Bahrain.
The 23-year-old Ethiopian Tadelech Bekele Alemu, who is a specialist in road races, will slug it out in women’s 8km. Alemu, who won the2012 Ceské Budejovice Half Marathon in Czech, is accompanied by little known Gemuchu Edeo Kelo, who will compete in men’s 12km race. From Eritrea are Nguse Amlesom, who is fresh from finishing third at Eritrea Half Marathon on January 5 and Letekidan Gebreamalak. They will compete in men’s 12km race.
Geoffrey Kusuro, who finished 19th at the 2009 World Cross country Championships and because the first African to win the World Mountain Running Championships champion in 2009, will spearhead Uganda’s assault in men’s 12km race.
The 25-year-old Kusuro will compete alongside fellow countryman Abdallah Kibet Mande, who finished 16th in men’s junior race at the 2013 World Cross Country in Poland.
Uganda has also entered Juliet Chekwel and Nancy Cheptegei in the women’s 8km race. Cheptegei won silver medals in 2000m Steeplechase and 3000m at the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games. Chekwel set a new national 10,000m record of 32:57.02 despite finishing 16th at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow.
Four former Kenyans, who now compete for Bahrain and have been training in the Rift Valley, will brush shoulders in men’s 12km race. Belal Mansur Ai (John Yego), Hassan Mahboob Ali (Silas Kirui) , Tarek Mubarak Taher (Dennis Kirui Sang)and Albert Rop have been training at the Kipchoge Keino Stadium and Kapsabet ahead of the new season.
Tuwei said the first junior women’s 6km race will go down at 8am with the final senior men’s 12km closing the proceedings at 11.30pm.
Two-time World Cross defending champion Emily Chebet (Administration Police) and Mercy Cherono will spearhead the Kenya Police assault at the championships.
The senior men’s 12km field is intimidating as well, featuring front running experts and namesakes, 2011 World Cross junior champion, Geoffrey Kipsang and twice New York marathon winner, Geoffrey Mutai.
Each of the winners in senior men’s 12km and senior women’s 8km will pocket US$ 2500 (Sh215,000). Runners-up will pocket US$1,500 (Sh129,000) each, third-placed US$ 1,250 (Sh107,500). Fourth place US$ 1,000 (Sh86,000), fifth US$ 750 (Sh64,500) and sixth US$600 (Sh51,600).