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Tergat still the strongest

March 18 1997

MONTE CARLO - Monaco - "Kenya has a very strong senior men’s team, the women’s team is more difficult to analyse but would appear weaker than the Ethiopians. The situation is identical for the men and women junior teams, though there could be surprises amongst the youngsters". This opinion comes from Dr Gabriele Rosa, a doctor from Brescia in Italy who has a passion for athletics, especially for distance running.

For Rosa, who bears the name of his great grandfather who was one of the heroes of the Italian Risorgimento, Kenya is his second home. Since the end of 1990, when he had his first dealings with Moses Tanui - 10,000m world champion in Tokyo, half marathon world champion in Montbeliard in 1995 and the man who completely dominated the Boston centenary marathon - Rosa spends many weeks each year in Kenya, more precisely in Eldoret in the Rift Valley, that fertile ground for great distance runners. Tanui, Tergat, Kororia, Onyancha, Kipkorir, Kitur, Kibitok to name but a few achieved a huge number of successes in marathons around the world in 1996. In all, some sixty athletes belong to the international group trained by Rosa.

A few days before the 25th IAAF - Pirelli World Cross Country Championships, which will take place in the Valentino Park in Turin, Italy, on 23 March, we asked Gabriele Rosa for a forecast of the results in the four races in the individual and team categories. Rosa has been following the latest training schedules of the Kenyan athletes at Embu, their traditional final base before the world cross country championships.

317 - Paul Tergat

"I saw two athletes with an extra gear: Tom Nyariki and a re-invigorated Paul Tergat, who makes no secret of his ambition for a third title. Paul Koech seemed a little tired. He gave a lot in the trials and in the Nairobi International. I believe that the fight for the title will be between these three Kenyans and the Moroccan Salah Hissou. For the team result I am sure that this will also go to Kenya, who can take both men’s team titles and probably also the junior women’s title. On the whole the Ethiopian senior women look stronger, with Gete Wami in great form, as she showed in the "Cinque Mulini". But watch out for Tulu. Ethiopian Kutre Dulecha, who ran in the 1500m in the World Indoor Championships also has a lot of talent."

In Embu, Paul Tergat will be measuring his compatriots’ performance. After Seville, the Kenyan Trials and the Nairobi Cross, he decided not to participate in other races (notably the Cinque Mulini) and has concentrated solely on preparation. On the other hand, the young runner from Lake Baringo has never abused competition and always raced sparingly. " His current form - comments Rosa - is as good as it has ever been and he has shown this in training in Embu, where anyone who wishes to keep up with him has to give of their all. But the fighting spirit of these athletes always rises to the fore, even in the most banal training session!"



Dr Gabriele Rosa who has played a major role in the preparation of Kenya's distance runners gives his forecast for the 25th IAAF - Pirelli World Cross Country Championships.

Why Tergat didn't run to school

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All photographs 1997 Allsport.