World Athletics has named Kenya’s multiple world cross country gold medallist, Paul Tergat as ambassador of the 44th World Athletics Cross Country Championships which holds in Bathurst, Australia next month.
Tergat will be in Bathurst for the competition on 18 February, when some of the world’s current best athletes will descend on Mount Panorama looking to emulate him as a world cross country champion.
The 54 year old is one of the greats of long-distance running and it was in cross country that his success story really began. The first of his five individual world cross country crowns was claimed in Durham in 1995 and he would go on to gain gold at the next four editions – in Stellenbosch in 1996, Turin in 1997, Marrakech in 1998 and Belfast in 1999.
Cross country running paved the way for his achievements on the road and track, which included multiple world records, two world half marathon titles, two Olympic ‘Cross country will always be a special event in my athletics career,’ said Tergat.
‘It evokes very nostalgic and fond memories, because this is really where my long athletics career was birthed, developed and blossomed, with the crowning of five straight World Cross Country Championships titles between 1995 and 1999.
‘In cross country running, I picked up lifelong lessons after conquering diverse conditions, twists and turns, terrains, wetlands and barriers that define the athletics event.’
Tergat has experience of racing in Australia; the 10,000m final at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games – where he pushed Haile Gebrselassie all the way before ultimately ending up with silver – was perhaps the most iconic race of Tergat’s career.