Beatrice Chebet crowned World Cross Country Champion in Bathurst

Beatrice Chebet shone brightest in 2023 World Cross Country Championships

ATHLETICS Beatrice Chebet crowned World Cross Country Champion in Bathurst

Funmilayo Fameso 12:08 - 18.02.2023
Kenya's Beatrice Chebet won her first senior Cross Country title, defeating a strong field at the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst.

Commonwealth 5000m Champion Beatrice Chebet stunned a strong field of long-distance runners to win the women's senior World Cross Country Championships title in Bathurst 23.

The Kenyan clocked 33:48 to outrun World 10000m Champion and pre-race Ethiopian favourite Letesenbet Gidey, who was in the lead but collapsed about 30m to go, having sighted the fast closing speed and pressure from her rival.

Chebet, the U20 world cross country champion in 2019, defeated Ethiopia’s Tsigie Gebreselama, who clinched silver in 33:56, and Kenya scored another medal when Agnes Jebet Ngetich seized bronze with 34:00.

Gidey, on the other hand, was disqualified after an Ethiopian supporter jumped the fence and dashed onto the course to assist her, thereby leading to her dramatic disqualification for outside assistance.

Beatrice Chebet defeated a strong field to be crowned 2023 World Cross Country Champion

“I didn’t expect to win but she was slowing,” Chebet said. “I saw my chance and I decided to kick. I felt she didn’t have anymore. I knew she couldn’t threaten me. I knew I had the potential to go on and win. I was still feeling strong. I knew I could do it.”

Chebet said she was not bothered by Gidey shadowing her so closely and that the bravery she showed to win had given her a massive confidence boost.

“This win has given me strength and courage and potential,” Chebet said. “I am very happy to win, it was not easy. I won this race as a junior and now as a senior. It was a matter of endurance and believing in myself.”

The win ensured the women's title stayed in Kenya after Helen Obiri won it last year. It also matched the result in the recent history of the women’s race as in the last 14 years, Kenyan women had won all seven consecutive championships dating back to 2009.

Kenya won its first women’s individual title in 1994, and in total, they have won eight individual titles in the history of the event before Bathurst.