Thanks to the IAAF's plan to switch the World Cross-country championships to biennial events the African athletics circuit will have its 3rd African Cross-Country championships. Confederation of African Athletics is all the more thankful for hosting one more event on its calendar.
Kenya - a previous host and major powerhouse in these forms of races will once again seek to battle it out with leading African challengers in the form of Ethiopia, and more recently Algeria, Eritrea and Morocco.
Last year the Kenyan teams in all races for men and women, both junior and senior saw the teams literally sweep all medals on offer. From individual titles of Gold, Silver and Bronze to team honours; even after sending what was 2nd-best since last year was a World Cross-Country championships year. The exception though was the failure of Ethiopia sending any of its athletes as the tightly-managed sport by the country's powers sought to shield their athletes from over-exposure.
This left IAAF President Lamine Diack complaining that the event has been turned into an East African affair - thanks to Kenya's dominance - turning away athletes from West Africa ( only Nigeria was represented from the West African countries. Mr. Diack himself is Senegalese so he might be having a point right there! )
36 countries have confirmed participation exceeding last year's lowly figure of 16. This will indeed ensure there is enough competition for top honours, men and women both at senior and junior levels. Some countries might want to use the meet as a warm-up to national selection for their teams to participate in the London Olympic Games later this year.
Will Kenya repeat her sterling performance? Will the rest of the African states come forth and push our athletes to the limit? Can Mr. Diack's myth be broken?
March 18th at Cape Town- South Africa will tell it all! All the best to our Kenyan representatives, make Kenya proud once again!