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mombassa 2007
Highlights from Mombasa 2007

Bekele set for fifth title defence

Kenenisa BekeleEthiopia reigning five-time double World Cross Country champion is ready for his sixth go at the world title.

Bekele spoke to the IAAF at the news conference held at Hotel Whitesands in Mombasa on the eve of the championships.

Why did he change his mind and decided to compete at the championships?

Bekele: "It was at this competition that I first achieved fame. It's also in this competition that my fans have come to love to watch me.

And I also know that my country has achieved a lot of fame as a result of my achievements in this competition.

So as a result I decided that as long as I am able to run, why would I miss this? So I'm very excited to come to Mombasa."

What about the change to the programme this year, with the elimination of the short course race?

Bekele: "My preparation didn’t change much because there's only one race. That was a very good set up. This will not affect my performance.

However I do wish that there were both long and short races again. It would have given me a chance to test myself and do another double."

Is it important to defeat the Kenyans on Kenyan soil?

Bekele: " As I see it Kenyans should be happy, as this is a friendly competition. And I have come here to compete in a home country of my friends and rivals, and to compete with them here.

"That is an expression of the respect I have for them. When Ethiopians come to Kenya and, Kenyans come to Ethiopia to compete, it's an expression of our respect for each other."

What of the hot and humid conditions in Mombasa?

Bekele: "I've never seen the World Cross Country take place in this kind of heat before.

I don’t know what kind of conditions I will encounter, or what kind of difficulties I will encounter. But the difficulties will apply to all competitors.

It will just make it interesting to see how it unfolds."

How does he feel on winning a sixth long course title, breaking his tie with Kenyans Paul Tergat and John Ngugi?

Bekele:"If I were to break it tomorrow, I would just be overjoyed. Right now we are tied, so to win a sixth time would make me extremely happy."

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Related links


35th IAAF World Cross Country Championships

Ethiopian Athletics


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Last updated: 23-Mar-2007 6:50 PM

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