Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Cross Country Championships: Its Kenya Vs. Ethiopia

Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways are arch rivals on African Skies, but their rivalry is overshadowed by that of Cross Country athletes. This year the battle for supremacy is being fought in Mombasa. The 35th IAAF World Cross Country Championships will be the 26th meet for both teams. Kenyan men have been team champions 19 times and Ethiopians seven times. But let statistics not fool you! The sport is full of surprises. Actually, there are no favorites until the race is over.

The above graph shows how both teams have performed since they first met in 1981. The y-axis shows team points and the x-axis indicates the year of competition. Unlike in other sports, the winning team in cross country is the one with least points. You can therefore see that successive Kenyan teams have performed better than Ethiopians. But tables turned in 2004 when Ethiopians broke Kenyans’ 17-year winning streak. They have been on each other’s neck ever since. Ethiopians are steadily catching up but Kenyans are still holding on. And even if Bekele the Great will not be racing, the world is assured of an electrifying competition. Let the best team win. Or who is your favorite?

Tomorrow on Kenyanomics: Kenyan Vs. Ethiopian Women (Long Course)


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