Shots have been fired in the run up to the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Kampala next week with men’s 10-kilometre defending champion Geoffrey Kamworor vowing to turn the tables on Kenyan champion Leonard Barsoton.
Kamworor, who finished third during the national trials last month in Nairobi, said he was in good shape to defend his title and would not be bothered by the loss to fellow police officer Barsoton.
Speaking after a road run in the outskirts of Embu Wednesday, Kamworor said he felt better each passing day and was ready to face any challenge.
Kamworor explained that during the trials, he was still recovering from a nagging injury and started training late.
“I feel I'm in great shape now when I compare to how I was feeling during the trials. I started training in December and my aim was to make Team Kenya. Now I aim to defend my title in Kampala. My body feels great and I cannot wait to hit that trail in Kampala," said Kamworor, who is also the World Half Marathon champion.
Barsoton, who won the African Cross Country Championships in Kampala in 2014, will be no pushover, guided by nostalgic memories of the place where he romped home to lead his country to a 1-2-3-4-5 clean sweep.
However, the 22-year-old runner, who trains in Japan, remains cagey on his tactics only saying that he was keen on finishing in the medal bracket. He said he was wary of Kamworor and Kenya’s perennial opponents Ethiopia.
“I will be facing the defending champion, Ethiopians and other Ugandans. It will be tough just like Guiyang in 2015,” said Barsoton.
Both athletes are keen on ensuring a clean sweep for Kenya.
Barsoton said he would be using the cross country event as a precursor to preparations for the Diamond league and the World Championships.