High expectations as ISF World Schools’ Cross-Country Championship takes place in Nairobi tomorrow

Schoolchildren from Morocco prepare for International School Sport Federation (ISF) World Cross Country Championships that will hold tomorrow at the Ngong Racecourse. Photo: Education News

It will be battle royale tomorrow, Sunday, May 12 at the Ngong Racecourse as Kenya hosts the 24th edition of the International School Sport Federation (ISF) World Cross Country Championships.

Defending champions Uganda, who won the title in 2022 in Slovakia, will be favourites to retain the crown as Africa hosts the competition for the second time after the 2000 edition in Marrakech, Morocco.

Uganda has the second-highest contingent of 41 athletes, while Tanzania will be represented with 27 athletes.

President William Ruto will grace the event which is free to the public.

Kenya will be debuting at the ISF event after joining the Federation in 2019.

Ugandan athletes in training.

More than 400 athletes from 22 different nations will battle for honours in six races from 10am. They include the boys’ and girls’ under-18, U-15, and U-12 categories.

Hosts Kenya has the largest contingent of 61 athletes with head coach Robert Ng’isirei confident that they will reign supreme on home soil.


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“Our preparations have been excellent and we know it won’t be easy, but we believe the athletes will bring the medals home. Uganda are the favourites, but we are at home and are ready to give our fans a thrilling show,’ said Ng’isirei.

Ireland athletes prepare.

Teams held their final training sessions at Nairobi School on Saturday, May 11, with many of the budding stars looking forward to a wonderful time and experience on the course.

Fifteen-year-old Tiare Escomel from Lycee Bonaparte School in Qatar is glad to have gotten the chance to compete in Kenya, saying the weather conditions are pretty good.

“It is an absolute honour to visit Kenya, one of the best in athletics and I’m looking forward to the race which will inspire me to continue running and at the same time balance with education,” said Tiare.

Xavier Leblanc also from Leycee Bonaparte revealed that he loves running and is pushing his limits to register good results.

“I have been in South Africa for six years and running in Kenya will be the best experience because I want to meet and see how they are competing in various events. I’m just here to learn and interact with other young people,” he said.

Athletes from Kenya in final preparation.

Amelia Quiroga from Teresiana School in Chile expects a stiff challenge and is also relishing the opportunity to visit tourist sites in Nairobi.

“Kenya is pretty green and the food is really good and I’m looking forward to a good race. I know it will be a tough challenge and the race will be super-fast but that is part of the learning process in athletics,” she said.

By Education News

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