The 4x2km mixed relay title goes to east African nation but hosts Australia fulfil goal of winning a medal with bronze at world champs in Bathurst
Kenya won the first gold of the 2023 World Cross Country Championships as they took the 4x2km mixed relay from Ethiopia with host nation Australia making the podium with bronze.
With the Aussies battling for medals, it added some spice to the opening event on a tough course in Bathurst. But Kenya prevailed in 23:14 from Ethiopia’s 23:21 as the home line-up clocked 23:26 followed by South Africa, United States and Britain in sixth.
Just days after racing in the Millrose Games in New York, Olli Hoare got Australia off to a solid start in third place as South Africa led thanks to Mafori Mphahlele from Kenya’s Emmanuel Wanyoni, with Britain’s Joe Wigfield in sixth.
Jess Hull then ran an inspired leg for the hosts as she took Australia into the lead from Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa as the early leaders fell back to fourth. Britain were sixth after the second stage courtesy of 800m specialist Alex Bell as the Americans were also going well through Emma Coburn.
Kenya assumed its authority in the third stage courtesy of Kyumbe Munguti, though, as Australia, with Stewart McSweyn, fell back to second. South Africa moved up to third ahead of Ethiopia as Britain dropped back slightly to seventh with Callum Elson.
On the final leg Brenda Chebet maintained Kenya’s lead as Birke Haylom took Ethiopia into second with Australian youngster Abbey Caldwell holding on to give the hosts a medal.
Caster Semenya anchored South Africa as they finished fourth, ahead of Heather MacLean of the United States as Alex Millard brought Britain home in sixth.
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