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NAIROBI (Reuters) - World champion Geoffrey Kamworor won the Kenyan Cross Country trials on Saturday but pulled out of the team for next month's African Cross Country Championships in Cameroon, saying the event did not fit in with his preparations for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August.
World silver medalist Bedan Karoki, who finished behind Kamworor, and third-placed African champion Leonard Barsoton also said they would not take part in the continental event in Yaounde on March 12.
"The national trials were important to me but I will not compete at the Africa cross country. I am planning to defend my world half marathon title next month," Kamworor told reporters.
"I have styled my races and training toward the Rio Olympics where I hope to challenge Mo Farah (of Britain) in the 10,000 meters. I have learned from the mistakes I made in past competitions," he said after sprinting the final meters to cross the finish line in 28 minutes 19.6 seconds, ahead of Karoki in 28:24.3.
The 21st IAAF World Half Marathon Championships will be held in Cardiff on March. 25.
African cross country bronze medalist and 10,000m champion Alice Aprot won the women's 10-km event in 31:13.2, beating Beatrice Mutai who clocked 33:28.2.
Writing by George Obulutsa; editing by Clare Fallon