Nairobi: Joseph Ebuya and Emily Chebet headed a Kenyan sweep of the individual and team medals at the world cross country championships in Bydgoszcz on Sunday for the first time since 1994.
Ebuya became the first Kenyan to win the senior men`s 12-kms title since Paul Tergat won his fifth and final race in Belfast in 1999. Chebet won the women`s eight-kms title while Kenya also won both the individual and team junior titles.
Eritrea`s Teklemariam Medhin took the early lead in the senior men`s race but Ebuya stayed in touch and strode to the front in the closing stages to win in exactly 33 minutes. Medhin was second six seconds behind.
In the women`s race, Chebet outsprinted team mate Linet Masai, who had done all the early work on a muddy course, to win in 24 minutes 19 seconds.
Masai, the world 10,000 metres champion, finished one second behind with Ethiopian Meselech Melkamu in third place, her fifth world cross country bronze medal.
Ethiopia`s three-times world champion Tirunesh Dibaba finished out of the medals in fourth place.
Tergat and another multiple former champion John Ngugi hailed their teams` performances.
"It is a great day for us Kenyans. I am so excited that they have brought back the senior men`s 12-kms title and all the other titles," Tergat told reporters by telephone from Cape Town.
"It has been a long wait and it makes me happy that we fought so gallantly."
Ngugi said the performances showed that Kenyan talent had not been properly harnessed previously.
"It also shows that with proper training Kenyans are still the leading cross country nation. My congratulations to them," he said.