The stage is set for an exhilarating spectacle as athletes gear up for the highly anticipated World Athletics Cross Country Championships Belgrade 24, slated for this Saturday (30). Amidst the buzz of anticipation, all eyes are on the senior men’s race, where last year’s top contenders brace themselves for a gripping showdown.

Leading the pack is Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo, determined to defend his title against a formidable lineup of opponents. Among them stands Berihu Aregawi, the impressive runner-up from 2023, and Joshua Cheptegei, a force in the field with a bronze in 2023 and a gold in 2019, alongside his illustrious three-time world 10,000m champion accolade.

Kenya’s Sabastian Sawe, reigning world half marathon champion, adds to the intensity, promising to challenge the frontrunners for the coveted title. Uganda boasts a strong duo in Kiplimo and Cheptegei, eyeing a historic hat-trick of victories for their nation. Their determination is matched by Martin Kiprotich and Dan Kibet, both hungry to make their mark on the grand stage.


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Kiplimo, who made history with Uganda’s first-ever World Cross Country gold in 2017, returns after overcoming injury setbacks, displaying his prowess with recent wins at prestigious events, signaling his readiness for global triumph in Belgrade.

Meanwhile, Cheptegei, fueled by his remarkable 10km run in Laredo, seeks redemption and aims to join the elite ranks of multiple world cross-country champions. Ethiopia’s Berihu Aregawi, holder of the world 5km record, aims to break the Ethiopian dry spell since 2011, after an impressive showing in Bathurst last year. Kenya, renowned for its cross-country dominance, fields a formidable team led by Sawe, bolstered by promising talents Ishmael Kipkurui and Nicholas Kipkorir.

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Spain’s Thierry Ndikumwenayo emerges as a dark horse, armed with impressive credentials and recent victories, making him a formidable contender for the podium. Eritrea’s Merhawi Mebrahtu and Aron Kifle, alongside Burundi’s Celestin Ndikumana, add depth to the competition with their formidable skills and experience.

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The excitement mounts as nations like the US, Australia, and Britain unveil their elite athletes, promising an electrifying display of talent and determination. This year’s edition marks a significant milestone with the debut of Afghanistan, Honduras, and Montenegro, underscoring the global appeal and inclusivity of the sport.

As anticipation reaches a crescendo, fans worldwide brace themselves for a riveting clash of titans at the World Athletics Cross Country Championships Belgrade 24.