You have to turn the clock back more than two decades to find an IAAF World Cross Country Championships junior men’s winner who came from somewhere other than Ethiopia and Kenya, and the overwhelming odds are that a teenager from one of these two countries will again triumph in Bydgoszcz on Sunday (24).
The role of being the slight favourite falls on the young shoulders of Hagos Gebrhiwet on the basis of the Ethiopian’s two outings since the start of the year.
Still just 18, Gebrhiwet clocked a World junior indoor 3000m record of 7:32.87 in Boston at the start of last month and then was an impressive winner at the Ethiopian Trials in Addis Ababa three weeks later on 24 February.
He is yet to stand on the podium at a continental or global championships, having finished fourth in the junior race at last year’s African Cross Country Championships, but he has improved alarmingly since the start of last summer and ran a World junior 5,000m record of 12:47.53 at the Samsung Diamond League meeting in Paris before going on to make the London 2012 Olympic Games final over the same distance. Read more