By John Kwoba
NAIROBI, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- Former World cross country champion Japhet Korir of Kenya will return to competition in Leffrinckoucke town in France during the 28th Cross de l'Acier race on Nov 19.
On the women side Margaret Kipkemboi, who was fifth at the London 5km race, will be the athlete to beat. She will however face stiff challenge from Ethiopia's Hiwot Ayalew with Daisy Jepkemoi of Kenya.
Korir, who lost his chance to defend his crown in Kampala earlier this year, is hopeful the cross country permit meeting across Europe will secure him the needed endurance ahead of the indoor and outdoor track competition.
"Poor form costed me a place in Kenya team in March and I accepted it and moved on. But I love cross country and will be keen to compete in France in my first race. I expect the season to be challenging and hopefully make it to Kenya team in the 10,000m races at the Commonwealth Games in April," Korir said on Thursday in Eldoret.
French runners expect to provide formidable challenge in the race to claim slots in the European Championships qualification.
Uganda will be hoping that Jacob Toroitich will be in top form to wrest for the title. It will be Toroitich' s first outing after lowering his 10,000m career best at the London worlds, where he finished 14th in 27:21.09.
The Ugandan, a top-ten finisher in Kampala, will be joined by his compatriot Jacob Kiplimo, who took the world junior title last March at age 16.
Other Kenyans expected are Leonard Komon, Jairus Birech and Vincent Rono. The former is the current world 10km and 15km record holder, and Birech was fifth here last year.