Ethiopia’s Belaynesh Oljira and Etagegn Woldu will be competing at the Antrim IAAF International Cross Country, an IAAF Cross Country Permit meeting, at the Greenmount Campus on 16 January.
Both athletes have won medals at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships. Oljira took bronze in the senior women’s race in 2013 and then went on to win the same colour medal over 10,000m at that year’s IAAF World Championships.
The 25-year-old finished ninth at this year’s World Cross Country Championships and at the World Championships over 10,000m. She also won the opening fixture of the 2015/2016 IAAF Cross Country Permit series in Atapuerca.
Woldu, who will still be a teenager until May next year, took bronze in the junior women’s race at this year’s World Cross Country Championships and formed part of the gold-medal-winning Ethiopian team. Earlier in the year, she won the African junior 5000m title.
Both women will be keen to follow in the footsteps of 2015 Antrim champion Birtukan Fente, who became the third Ethiopian woman to win in Antrim, following three-time winner Etalemahu Kidane and 2003 champion Werknesh Kidane.
Also part of the British Cross Challenge series, organisers of the Antrim IAAF International Cross Country hope to attract many of Britain’s top cross-country runners.