Their squad of 24 that is a mix of experience and newcomers is ready to take the battle to the other 50 nations taking part, more so, perennial archrivals Kenya.
Ethiopia arrived in Guiyang on Wednesday evening and their revered yellow, green and red clad runners were an attraction when they stepped out on the training track in Guanshanhu Park around the Jinyang Nations Square in Xiaowangtiai.
The class of 2015 is hoping to emulate the example set by their legend, Kenenisa Bekele, who remains the most medalled athlete in the history of the World Cross with 27 in total with an unmatched 12 gold haul as a junior winner in 2001, long/short champion from 2002 to 2006 and 12km senior titleholder in 2008.
“I have trained with the national team together. I have special training for cross country with God, I can do it this year,” Tamirat Tola, the surprise winner of the 12km senior race at the Janmeda Cross Country, Ethiopia’s Trials; over Hagos Gebrehiwot, the 2013 junior world cross champion and Muktar Edris, the former junior champion said on Thursday at the team hotel.
Bonsa D, da Atsedu Tsegay and Tesfaye Abera complete the Ethiopian charge for the Holy Grail of the World Cross last won by Imane Merga in Punta Umbria, Spain in 2011.
- Tried hard-
Unheralded Genet Yalew who won the corresponding women’s 8km long race at Janmeda is hoping to emulate three-time senior champion and another Ethiopian luminary, Tirunesh Dibaba who is on maternal break.
Yalew beat experienced campaigners such as Belaynesh Oljira, the two-time World Championships bronze winner, Alemitu Haroye, the World Junior 5000m champion and Mamitu Daska, the 66:27 career best Half Marathoner to the tape at the selection event to give her confidence she can ascend to the global crown as the breakout star of Guiyang 2015.
“I have tried so many times and at the last edition, I lost because I was technically not good, not because of my capacity or talent. Now, I can win, I’ve trained hard in Addis but the weather here is not like Ethiopia. Anyway, I will try my best,” she told SuperSport through a translator on Thursday.
Debutants Netsanet Gudeta and Senbere Taferi complete the fresh faced Ethiopian senior women squad hoping to shake up the competition.
Yihunilign Adane, Haymanot Alewe, Abe Gashahun, Yasin Haji, Yohans Mekasha and Adane Weletaw are the country’s offering for the junior 8km men’s showdown.
Dera Dida, Letesenbet Gidey, Dagmawit Kidane, Zerfe Lemeneh, Mihret Tefera and Etagegn Woldu complete Ethiopia’s squad for the 41st World Cross in the junior women 6km squad.