Athletics: Cross legend Ngugi decries lack of Kenyan teamwork

Kenya cross-country legend John Ngugi believes the country's failure to win the team title in the men's senior race at the world championships in Poland was due to an overall lack of teamwork.

Unheralded Japhet Korir held off a strong challenge to win the 12km race, but he was the only Kenyan to finish in the top 10, as the east Africans dropped out of the top two in the team standings for the first time since 1984.

"It is very sad to see the Kenyans did not stay together. There seems to be an element of individualism in their running nowadays," said former five-time world champion Ngugi.

"Even the United States have realised the importance of teamwork, and they were able to surprisingly pip Kenya, and finish second behind Ethiopia."

Ngugi added that the decision to move the world championships from annual to biennial two years had been detrimental to the development of the sport in the country.

"Athletes like Paul Tergat and myself were able to progress well and win medals on the track after competing in the cross country.

"The event acted as a stepping stone to our domination in the long distance events at the world championships and the Olympics," said Ngugi, who won a 5000m gold at the 1988 Seoul Olympic games.

"Making the event a biennual competition would be a disadvantage to the Kenyan athletes who were already struggling against the Ethiopian domination in the distance events at these championships."