OVER 500 athletes are expected to grace the Athletics Kenya/ KCB cross country meeting planned for tomorrow in Embu.
AK Public relations officer, Peter Angwenyi, said Hosea Macharinyang who clinched the event in Kapsokwony a month ago, has confirmed participation alongside Phillip Langat, Jairus Kipchoge and Cheserek Kemboi.
Peter Matelong, who won the Nyahururu has also thrown his hat into the battle and will fancy his chances of winning the event considering Nyahururu and Embu have similar characteristics in terms of terrain.
Also to have confirmed participation is Richard Sigei, who won the event in Kisii last month, steeplechaser Richard Matelong and Africa cross country champion Clement Langat. Athletes are using the cross country series to step up preparations for the national cross championships slated for February.
In the women's category, 2010 world cross country 8km champion, Emiliy Chebet, will be the star to watch. She missed the last meeting in Kapsokowony and makes a welcome return to the event in Embu.
However, stiff challenge Phanancier Jemutai, Purity Cherotich, Elizabeth Chemutai, Monica Otwori and Jane Murage awaits her as she tries to prove a point ahead of the world championships.
World junior cross champion Faith Chepngetich also starts favourite in the women's junior 6km race in Embu. She missed the event in Kapsokowony due to personal commitments but will be seeking to stamp her authority once again.
Chepngetich, however, faces Sheila Chepng'etich, Agnes Jebet, Mercy Chebwogen and Lina Cheruto among other . Chepngetich lost to Roline Chepngetich in Kisii last month and will this time round thread with care.
In the junior men's category, Moses Mukono who destroyed the field in Kapsokwony last month will be seeking his fourth win of the season. Like Chepng'etich Mukono will start the junior race outright favourite. The training partner of world 800 metre record holder David Rudisha takes on Walter Kipkoech, Gilbert Kirui and Peter Namuria among others. Host branch chairman Joseph Kinyua said preparations are complete and they are looking forward to the race before breaking for Christmas.
Kinyua, who is also the AK treasurer, said Embu has always been competitive and they don't expect anything less. "I am asking athletes to turn up in large numbers for the event which marks the end of 2012," he noted.