The 2023 World Cross Country Championship in Bathurst will be remembered forever—not for the victory of the Kenyan phenom Beatrice Chebet in the women’s 10K or the dominance of Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo in the men’s race, but for the bizarre collapse of Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey, 30 metres from the finish line.
Emotional finish in the Senior Women's race in #Bathurst23 😲
Beatrice Chebet 🇰🇪 🥇 wins the World Title in the World Cross Country Championships as Letesenbet Gidey falls short in the home stretch
— All Athletics (@allathleticstv) February 18, 2023
Gidey was on her way to her third world XC title and her first senior title when she fell to the ground, the moment she saw Chebet sprinting on her left side. After falling, she was helped by members of the Ethiopian team, who jumped onto the course. Although Gidey got up and eventually crossed the finish line, confused, in fourth place, she was disqualified for having received external help.
Her disqualification ended up costing the Ethiopian women’s team the team gold, finishing second to Kenya (16 points), with 25 points. Team Uganda took the bronze in the team category, with 41 points, ahead of the Aussie hosts in fourth.
A Kenyan at Bathurst watching #WorldCrossCountry has shared this clip of the last metres of the Senior Women's race. He captured Gidey fall and Beatrice Chebet victory. #teamkenya pic.twitter.com/jAHyKqUrse
— Katami Michelle (@MichKatami) February 18, 2023
Everyone watching the race were astonished by what happened in the final stages of the race. Gidey holds the world record over 5,000m, 10,000m and the half-marathon. She had a sizable lead heading around the final two turns, but Chebet, the 2022 Diamond League 5,000m champion, was charging hard. Although the reason Gidey fall has not been determined, it will go down as a faltering moment in her career.
Chebet, the world 5,000 metres silver medallist, grabbed her second straight individual gold in XC after taking the U20 title four years ago in Denmark. Chebet extends Kenya’s record-breaking streak of individual victories in the senior women’s race to eight.
Ethiopia’s Tsigie Gebreselama ended up second, while Kenya’s Agnes Jebet Ngetich took third in the women’s 10K race.
Regan Yee of South Hazelton, B.C., led the way for Team Canada, placing 34th overall in 36:43. Natalia Allen finished one spot behind Yee in 35th, helping Team Canada place inside the top 10 in the team race.
For full results from the 2023 World Cross-Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia, view here.