Kenyan one-two at World Cross Country Champs in Bathurst as Ed Bird leads the Brits home in 18th
Ishmael Kipkurui emerged as the winner in a ferociously competitive under-20 men’s race at the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia, on Saturday.
The Kenyan clocked 24:29 over the tough 8km course as he finished narrowly ahead of fast-finishing team-mate, Reynold Cheruiyot, the reigning world under-20 1500m champion, with Boki Diriba of Ethiopia third.
Kipkurui, 18, won the Kenyan trial race in the run-up to these championships and he made his move in the final kilometre, zig-zagging through the tyres section and then powering through the downhill finish to take gold.
Such is the standard of this event, runner-up Cheruiyot has a 1500m best of 3:34.02, while Diriba ran a 60:34 half-marathon last year aged just 18.
Diriba was in second place until the final metres, too, but was overtaken by Cheruiyot as long-time leader Dan Kibet of Uganda placed fourth, Bereket Zeleke of Ethiopia fifth and Kenneth Kiprop sixth.
Kenya won the team contest by just one point from Ethiopia with the United States matching the bronze medal winning performance of their team-mates in the under-20 women’s race earlier in the day.
South Africa, Britain and Australia followed in fourth, fifth and sixth.
Runners from Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda filled the top 15 places but Leo Young of the United States was 16th, one place ahead of Australian Archie Noakes as Ed Bird led the Brits home in a brilliant 18th in 26:10.
The tall Bird, the European under-18 3000m bronze medallist in 2022, enjoyed the race of his life on the twisty, undulating course as team-mate Jacob Deacon was 26th, with Luke Birdseye 28th and Sam Mills 49th.
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