Home runner Jacob Kiplimo delivers Uganda its first ever World Cross gold as he wins the men's under-20 race in Kampala ©IAAF

Uganda was rewarded for its first staging of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Cross Country Championships with its first gold in the competition.

It came thanks to under-20 athlete Jacob Kiplimo on a day when Kenya's Geoffrey Kamworor became the first back-to-back winner of the men's senior event since Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele won a fifth consecutive title in 2006.

In searing heat at the Kololo Independence Grounds in the Ugandan capital of Kampala, Kamworor, who retained his IAAF World Half Marathon title in Cardiff last year, completed the double-double in a time of 28min 24sec after a bold but doomed effort to win by another Ugandan, Joshuah Cheptegei.

Cheptegei was a lone challenger to Kamworor for much of the race and broke clear with three kilometres remaining to raise hopes and noise in the Kololo stand.

But as the final lap rolled out, his legs barely managed to carry him.

Kamworor swept past, followed by eventual silver medallist Leonard Barsoton, Kenya's national trials winner and Ethiopia's Abadi Hadis, who took took bronze.

Home fans at the Kololo Independence Ground in Kampala were rewarded with home gold ©IAAF
Home fans at the Kololo Independence Ground in Kampala were rewarded with home gold ©IAAF

Cheptegei, however, managed to finish the race in 30th place and thus helped his country to earn team bronze by just three points.

Despite Kamworor and Barsoton's efforts, Ethiopia retained their senior men's team title by one point.

Kenya's senior women took the team gold after an unprecedented achievement of filling the top six places, but as during the last Championships in 2015, Ethiopia won three of the four longstanding events, taking the top team slot in the men's and women's under-20 races, although Kenya won the inaugural mixed relay.

Samuel Chelanga, a naturalised Kenyan, was the first non African representative home in the senior men's race, taking 11th place for the United States, two places in front of Australia's Patrick Tiernan.

The first European home was Sergio Sanchez of Spain, in 50th place.

Kiplimo, who was a world under-20 10,000 metres bronze medallist last year, came into the race as the host country’s best chance of an individual medal following his brilliant performance in winning the Ugandan Cross Country Championships on the same course.

Kiplimo covered the 8km course in 22:40, ending the Kenyan and Ethiopian dominance in the event to win the first global title of his career. 

On a day of searing heat he broke clear of his nearest rivals on the final lap, finishing three seconds clear of Ethiopia’s Amdework Walelegn and Kenya’s Richard Yator Kimunyan, third in 22.52.

Upon crossing the finish line, Kiplimo was congratulated by Uganda's President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and said: "Yes yes yes, I always thought I could win. 

"It was a very good race. 

"When I decided to break away going into the last lap, I knew I was going to win."

In the women's senior event, Irene Chepet Cheptai led the Kenyan parade, clocking 31:57, with defending champion Agnes Tirop fifth in 32:32, the same time as fourth-placed Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi, the world 3,000m steeplechase champion.

Silver went to Alice Aprot Nawowuna, who won the African title on this course in 2014, with Lilian Kasait Rengeruk third in 32:11.

As a marker of this race's quality, Kenya’s Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon had to settle for sixth place in 32:49 in front of the first non-Kenyan finisher, Bahrain's 3,000m steeplechase Olympic champion and world record holder Ruth Jebet.

Kenya's victorious team in the first ever mixed relay event at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, with triple world 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop, left ©IAAF
Kenya's victorious team in the first ever mixed relay event at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, with triple world 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop, left ©IAAF

The inaugural mixed relay event, involving teams of two men and two women over loops of a 2km course, was won by a Kenyan team featuring triple world 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop, returning to cross country running a decade after taking the under-20 title and establishing a six-second lead for his team after running the opening leg.

The Kenyans finished in 22:22, eight seconds clear of an Ethiopian team which placed world 1,500m record holder Genzebe Dibaba on the last leg.

Dibaba made up four seconds on Kenya’s final leg runner, Beatrice Chepkoech, but her rival still had plenty to spare by the line.

"It will remain in history that we won the first mixed relay," an elated Kiprop tweeted.

Bronze went to Turkey in 22:37.

Ethiopia's Letesenbet Gidey emulated Kamworor in becoming the fourth woman to win back-to-back under-20 titles.

The 19-year-old sprinted clear after 500m of the final lap to finish in 18:34, with team-mate Hawi Feysa taking sliver in 18:57 in front of Kenya's Celliphine Chepteek Chespol, third in 19:02.