NAIROBI, March 28 (Xinhua) -- World junior 10,000m champion Rhonex Kipruto says he has gotten over his muscle injury and eyes to clinch gold at the World Cross Country Championships to be held on Saturday on Aarhus, Denmark.
Kipruto is part of the 41-member Kenya team that is eyeing to improve on their last record in Kampala, Uganda where the East African nation garnered 12 medals out of a possible 27.
Kipruto's manager Michel Boeting said his athlete is ready to stake claim to the medals on the global stage.
"He just wants to do well for his first appearance in a senior championship. Of course he wants to go for the gold, but I think if he's beaten by strong guys, he can be happy with a bronze as well," Boeting said on Thursday.
Kipruto's preparations has been curtailed by a pulled muscle in his upper leg in January but he still qualified for the Kenyan team finishing six in the explosive trials.
He proved his mantle when he won at the Elgoibar meeting in Spain in January and now he wants to emulate his mentors Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge and David Rudisha.
"I have learned a lot from them," he said. "They are superstars and they do their job well and that's why they inspire me. I want to do well in Denmark and then focus on the World Championships in Doha, Qatar where I expect to make the Kenya team. I also have plans to break the world record for 10km on the roads," Kipruto said.
The squad will face stern test from East African counterparts Ethiopia as well as the first rising Uganda. Also, in the mix is the United States whose team is predominantly made of athletes of Kenyan origin.
Kenya claimed the first two spots in Kampala back in 2017, with champion Geoffrey Kamworor followed in by Leonard Barsoton, but the Ethiopians packed their scoring four into the next six finishers to edge their rivals by one point in teams' leaderboard.
Uganda will certainly be a threat to both traditional powers, with both Joshua Cheptegei and Abraham Kiplimo likely to be in the medalists. Eritrea and Burundi are likely to be close up.