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Geoffrey Kamworor, Irene Cheptai eye World Championships

Monday March 27 2017
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World Cross Country senior men's 10km champion Geoffrey Kamworor (left) and Beautrice Chepkoech, who won gold in mixed Relays pose upon arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on March 27, 2017from the World Cross Country Championships in Kampala, Uganda. PHOTO | AYUMBA AYODI |

By AYUMBA AYODI

The newly crowned World Cross Country champions Geoffrey Kamworor and Irene Cheptai now want to extend their reign to track at the forthcoming World Championships in August in London.

Kamworor said his second consecutive World Cross Country victory has inspired him to take another stab at the World 10,000m title in London as he plans to take the battle to current title holder Mo Farah to his door steps.

Cheptai, who was a third time lucky this time around, said she is now determined to fit in the big spikes left by the reigning World 10,000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot, who has moved to marathon.

Kamworor, who is the World 10,000m silver medallist and World Half Marathon champion, and Cheptain were speaking upon return from the World Cross Country Championships that took place Sunday at Kololo grounds, Kampala.

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Double world cross country champion Geoffrey Kamworor sips the traditional ceremonial mursik milk after arriving at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on March 27, 2017. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO |

The duo were part of the triumphant Team Kenya that returned to heroic reception at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Monday from Kampala.

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The athletes sipped away Kalenjin traditional sour milk Mursik amidst songs and dance led by Kenya Utamaduni Ngoma traditional group from Jericho.

Its Kamworor and Cheptai, who led the athletes out of the Kenya Airways lobby to a thunderous cheers from the eagerly waiting crowd that included family members, friends and a battery of local media, who clicked their cameras away.

World 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop, who guided Kenya to victory in the inaugural mixed Relays race, also disembarked alongside the team of 30 athletes.

Kamworor said he didn't retain the title on silver platter especially after the supersonic speed scare by Uganda's Joshua Cheptegei in the last two laps.

"I had to dig deep but I knew he would not have sustained the speed in such hot and humid conditions...I had to remain resilient and calculate my steps and speed and I thank God it worked well," said Kwamworor, adding that he will not run any marathon this year, opting to focus his energies at the World Championships.

"The 10,000m is the title I desire most now and I want to work hard for it," said Kamworor adding that No Fatah will find it rough at his London backyard.

Cheptai said that change of training did the trick to win the title on her third attempt after 2013 Bydgoszcz and 2015 Guiyang.

"I had more training sessions unlike before and I think that is what worked for me," said Cheptai, who dedicated his victory to get husband and coach Barnaba Chirchir. "He has been so patient with me."

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The New World Cross Country senior women's 10km champion Irene Cheptai upon arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on March 27, 2017 from the World Cross Country Championships in Kampala Uganda. PHOTO | AYUMBA AYODI |

Cheptai said great team work saw Kenya make history by sweeping all the six top places in senior women's race. “I am just happy and I thank God for the victory,” said Cheptai.

Kiprop said his second World Cross Country victory after junior victory in 2007 Mombasa has inspired him to go for a record fourth consecutive World 1,500m title in London.

Head coach Juma Ndiwa and team manager Evans Bosire congratulated their charges for winning the overall title with four gold, five silver and three bronze medals. “It’s unfortunate we didn’t win senior men’s team title but we reclaimed the overall title,” said Bosire.

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