World champion Korir leads the field field for IAAF Antrim International – Belfast Newsletter

The 21-year-old became the youngest ever winner of the event winning the title in Poland in 2013 when he upset the established favourites at the age of 19.

He won a thriller at Greenmount last year when in a nail biting finish he crossed the line just two seconds before Ugandan Thomas Akeyo with another Kenyan Emmanuel Bett just one second further back.

East African athletes took the top five positions with Andy Vernan of England sixth. Andy went on to compete well in the Commonwealths before taking medals in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres behind Mo Farah at the Europeans.

Korir is a useful performer on the road also with 62 minutes 41 for the half marathon at Ben Haag, Belgium last March. He has a 10k time of 27 minutes 52 and has covered 3,000 on the track in 7:40.37.

He came third in the World Junior Cross Country in 2009. He has not competed frequently recently but showed his wellbeing by coming second in the Edinburgh 4K Cross Country behind holder Garrett Heath of the USA and ahead of another American Dathan Ritzenhein a regular competitor in the International here.

Japhet will obviously start favourite as he builds up to defend his title in the now two yearly World Championships in China two weeks after Greenmount.

The organisers are also hopeful that double European champion Fionnuala Britton will join the line-up. The 30-year-old from Wicklow has twice won at Greenmount and just missed a medal last time.

More than 1,200 competitors will be in action the Antrim extravaganza which provides competition from under 11s right through to Masters.

Mayor of Antrim Councillor Brian Graham said: “We are delighted that Athletics Northern Ireland has chosen to return to Antrim for the IAAF International Cross Country. CAFRE Greenmount Campus is an ideal venue for this world class competition.”

Athletics Northern Ireland President Gary Keenan welcomed the event saying: “The Greenmount venue is a perfect location for athletes and spectators. I very much look forward to welcoming this showcase event to the Greenmount Campus and anticipate a fantastic sports occasion with competitive fields at a world class venue.”

More big names for the Greenmount Spectacular will be announced in the very near future. The meeting also includes the Home Countries International which will feature teams from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

writes Dave McKibbin.