Nairobi, March 13 (IANS) With just a week before the World Cross Country Championships in Kampala, Kenya is confident it has polished skills of its athletes and they are ready to take on the world's best.
Two senior women athletes Agnes Tirop, the defending champion and Olympic 1,500 metres champion Faith Chepng' etich Kipyegon have a reason to fight for the gold in the Ugandan capital, reports Xinhua news agency.
Whereas Tirop is on a rebound after two years out with a leg injury, Kipyegon is ruing skipping the event in Guiyang, China in 2015 and wants to atone for the missed opportunity.
"It is an honour to represent Kenya in any event. I have trained well for this event, but I have a strong challenge and I the fact that I have been away from the frontline in the last four years means there is more pressure on me to perform after graduating to the senior ranks," said Kipyegon.
On the other side, injury took the wind out of Tirop sails when she was promising to stamp her authority in long distance running. But after mental battle to get over the career threatening injury, the 22-year old is now ready to prove to the world her prowess.
"I have a second chance and it is always how you react to it that matters. It is a competitive field and what is required is to focus on my strength and build on it. The Ethiopians and Ugandans will give us no room, but it is what you should expect at this stage of competition," said Tirop, Monday in Embu.
Both athletes and a horde of others in the training camp are using the World Cross Country to boost their endurance and enhance their chances of making it to the World Championships in London, in August.
"There will be a lot of pressure in London since I will be going there as an Olympics champion. Cross country is perfect for me because it helps me improve on my endurance," said Kipyegon.
"I won silver in Beijing when nobody had their bet on me. Now I have grown in strength and experience and seeking to hold both world and Olympic gold is my dream."
The IAAF World Cross-country Championships is scheduled for March 26 in Kampala.