Jacob Kiplimo’s win in the senior men’s race capped a series of dramatic races in stormy weather, stifling heat and challenging terrain that marked the World Athletics Cross Country Championships at Mount Panorama in Bathurst, the first time the biennial world championship was held since 2019.
Uganda dominated the senior men’s podium with Kiplimo and previous cross country world champion Joshua Cheptegei picking up gold and bronze respectively, while Ethiopia’s Berihu Aregawi made a glittering World Cross debut to take silver. Cheptegei took his medal in a photo finish against Jeffrey Kamworor, who took consolation in being able to help Kenya win team gold.
Kamworor was the last Kenyan to win the U20 men’s title 12 years ago, but the weekend saw his worthy successor in Ishmael Kipkirui who also led the nation to gold in the team competition.
The women’s senior race was a game of cat-and-mouse, with pre-race favourite Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia shadowed by Kenya’s Beatrice Chebet until the final lap. Chebet, the 2019 U20 world cross country champion, put in a finishing kick to clinch the win, while Gidey fell and was dramatically disqualified when an overzealous supporter dashed onto the course to assist her. Gidey’s teammate Tsigie Gebreselama took silver, while Agnes Jebet Ngetich claimed the final podium spot for Kenya.
Ethiopia took home the women’s U20 title when Senayet Getachew topped the race which saw the world’s leading juniors slip and fall in the mud as well as deal with the 36-degree Celsius heat.
Australia made good on its best chance for a medal at the championships, taking bronze in the mixed team relay and leading the race after the second leg, following a scintillating performance by Jessica Hull. In taking gold, Kenya regained the championship it had lost in 2019, while Ethiopia edged into silver on the anchor leg run by Birke Haylom.
The international broadcast audience had a front-row seat to all the action, with Mana Global’s 360 Sport and Entertainment division overseeing broadcast production in collaboration with World Athletics Productions and Gravity Media. The 19-camera production included three drones, graphics from SEIKO and Deltratre, a three-hour live transmission and commentary from Olympic legends Steve Moneghetti and Tamsyn Lewis Manou.
Australian viewers saw all five championship races broadcast live and free on SBS, while international viewers accessed the live programming through ESPN, Eurovision Sport and TBS networks globally, as well as via the World Athletics YouTube channel, where all racing is now available as video on demand.
(Photos by Getty Images for World Athletics)