Japhet Korir of Kenya placed first in this year’s World Cross Country Championships, held in Poland. (Google Images)

BBC Sport and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) are reporting that 19-year-old Kenyan Japhet Korir won the World Cross Country Championships in Poland on March 24. Emily Chebet, also of Kenya, took gold in the women’s race during the championships. Behind Korir’s time at 33 minutes 45 seconds were reigning champion Imane Merga of Ethiopia in second and Teklemariam Medhin of Eritrea in third. Ethiopia’s Hiwot Ayalew placed second behind Chebet in the women’s competition.

The IAAF writes:

At 19 years and 266 days, Korir beat the former record for being a prodigious talent, which had be held by no less a figure than … Kenenisa Bekele after his win in the now defunct short course race in 2002, by 17 days.

However, Korir was lucky to be on the starting line in Bydgoszcz at all.

Kenyan selectors mulled over whether he was worth bringing to Poland after his sixth place at their own trials last month.

However, his form in training in the last four weeks convinced them that it was a gamble worth making and it paid off handsomely. On a day when … Kenya’s other medal hopes in the senior men’s race metaphorically and literally froze, he became his nation’s fifth champion.

Read more at BBC Sport and IAAF.

This news brief was written by Kaitlin Higgins.

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