From: Yohannes Debesai (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Mar 26 2009 - 21:20:12 EST
PREVIEW - MEN’s Races - WXC AMMAN 2009
Amman, Jordan - There will be a refreshing change in theme to the senior men’s race at the 37th IAAF World Cross Country Championships on the Bisharat Golf Course in Amman, Jordan, on Saturday (28 March). For the first time since 2001, Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele will not be the centre of attention. Either Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese will win or there will be a new name on the roll of honour.
The greatest pain felt by Bekele’s domination – six wins over the classic 12km distance in seven years, broken only by Tadese’s triumph in 2007 – has been suffered by Kenya. Although this powerhouse nation has continued to hold the upper hand in the team event, it has not celebrated a long-course individual champion since Paul Tergat notched the last of his five successive wins in 1999.
The greater experience in their squad seems likely to deliver Kenya a 22nd team title in 24 years and this time they might be led home by the individual gold medallist. Leonard Komon, runner-up to Bekele last year, and Moses Mosop, silver medallist behind Tadese in 2007, are obvious contenders but, in Mathew Kisorio and Mangata Ndiwa, they have senior debutants either one of whom could spring a shock.
The war-horse of the field is Tadese, 27, who will be making his eighth successive appearance in the championships. Thirtieth in his debut in 2002, he made the podium for the first time in 2005 and has been consistently among the frontrunners ever since. In a varied career, he was a national road cycling champion in 2001 and, in 2004, became Eritrea’s first Olympic medallist, taking bronze over 10,000m in Athens. He is the reigning three-time World Half Marathon champion.
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