Shalane Flanagan of the USA at the pre-event Press Conference at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Bydgoszcz

"You don’t want to be working on your tan at the World Cross," Bydgoszcz Press Conference Quotes

BydgoszczThe traditional pre event for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships press conference was held today in Bydgoszcz.

Below extracts of VIPs and Athletes' quotes: 

Lamine Diack – IAAF President

“Bydgoszcz has a special place in the heart of the IAAF. It is one of the rare cities that has organised one of the big championships of the IAAF for the first time [the 1999 World Youth Championships], and also the World Junior Championships in 2008. Thank you to the Mayor for your dedication to our sport, you have made Bydgoszcz the world capital of athletics.”

On the decision to hold the championships every two years from 2012
“Cross country continues to be a very important part of our life. I think cross country is a key issue in the development of middle and long distance running.

“We’ve decided we’ll have the World Cross Country every two years. We will start to develop cross country more at continental level. I think we will have more countries competing in their continental championships. Each continent will be obliged to have their own cross country championships.”

About absentees
“We are very happy to have with us some great champions. The World Championships are for those who are here, and at the end of it we will have wonderful world champions, men, women and team. But here despite the dominance of East Africa, we still have countries like Spain and France who are always competing.”

On African domination in distance running
“I’m convinced that in future European can compete, Asia can compete, right now we have to learn from them. We have to learn from Kenya, we have to learn from Ethiopia. It’s the only way to do it. They run because there is a tradition of running in their country. In our sport we cannot say it’s impossible, you have to say we can do it, it is possible. The world is now a village and everyone has a chance.”

Konstanty Dombrowicz – The Mayor of Bydgoszcz

“I wish good luck to all the athletes and all of you. The name of our city is Bydgoszcz and we can translate it to say “Be my guest”. I thank the Polish Federation for doing everything to put Bydgoszcz on the world map of athletics.”

Jerzy Skucha – President of the Polish Athletics Federation

On Poland’s prospects in the championships
“We have a full team in all races. It will broaden the spectrum of our long distance runners. I don’t hope for much in terms of medals but I believe that one of our teams can fight for a place in the top eight.”


Linet Masai KEN – World 10,000 Metres champion

“I think everyone is well prepared for this race, I am ready to perform my best.”

Which surface does she enjoy the most
“I prefer cross country because I never missed a medal and it prepares me well for the track.”

Katarzyna Kowalska POL – Polish Cross Country and Steeplechase champion

Her thoughts on the race course
“I believe it will be in much better condition than two weeks ago. It is a good course, not an easy course. A very interesting course and I don’t think it will be too bad.”

Her hopes
“Here my chances are to get into the top 30. If I can do that it will be a great success for me.”

Her favourite event
“I prefer to run in a stadium, I love running the steeplechase.

Mohamed Farah GBR – Former European Cross Country champion

Can he improve on his 11th place in 2007
“What you find is that you always want to do better. This is real cross country, I am excited and looking forward to it.”

On the absence of Kenenisa Bekele
“Bekele is in a different class, when the big man is not here it makes a big difference, it gives every man a bit more confidence.”

Who does he think are some of the contenders
“[Moses] Kipsiro, a training partner of mine, he’ll be up there. And [Gebre-egziabher] Gebremariam, If I can mix it with those guys it will be good.”

Shalane Flanagan USA – North American record holder at 5000m & 10,000m

The conditions
“The weather was a little too nice yesterday [Friday], you don’t want to be working on your tan at the World Cross Country Championships.”

The race
“I like it that you have all the contenders in one race. I’ve prepared to run one of my hardest ever races.

“I’m expecting it to be the toughest race of the year. It truly is one of the best races in the world. Linet and Tirunesh are fabulous runners, I admire them, I hope to be with them stride for stride.

The USA’s team medal prospects
“My team-mates will be looking for me to put them in contention. The lowest score will be the best score”

Tirunesh Dibaba ETH – Multi World and Olympic champion

Why did she change her mind about competing in Bydgoszcz
“This is not a competition you compete in for yourself, but for your country. Since the Federation asked me to compete, I am here.”

Her prospects
“It looks very good, I worked out well. I had a lot of problems last year with my leg, this year I’m in good shape, I can say I’m back to my usual form.”

Can she take another gold
“Everyone comes hoping to win, but I believe we have prepared well and we can win. Everyone has big dreams, Kenenisa has won many times, whether I can match that I don’t know.”

Will she interrupt her warm-up to watch her younger sister Genzebe in the junior race
“When she runs I have to watch her, my heart would not allow me to otherwise.”

Mark Butler for the IAAF