World 3000m Steeplechase record holder Saif Saaeed Shaheen will lead a strong Qatari team for the 37th IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Amman, Jordan, Saturday 28 March 2009.
The 2003 and 2005 World 3000m Steeplechase champion, has spent the lion’s share of the last two seasons out of competitive action due to injury, and did not finish in the Nairoibi IAAF XC permit meeting on 21 Feb.
However, his management have subsequently confirmed that it was never Shaheen's intention to complete that race rather he was using the outing as part of his training ahead of Amman. Three weeks earlier in his only true competitive run this season Shaheen notably won the 77th edition of the world famous Cinque Mulini cross country meet in Italy (1 Feb), another IAAF XC Permit race.
Shaheen has a reputable pedigree over the country, both in major championships and IAAF Permit meetings, and has finished in the top ten at the World Cross Country Championships on four occasions including a fourth place finish in 2005.
Joining Shaheen in the Qatari team will be recently-minted Asian Cross Country Champion Ahmed Abdullah Hassan. The 26-year-old, who is also the Asian 10,000m record holder, led his country to a clean sweep of the first four places in the senior men’s 12km race at the 10th Asian Cross Country Championships in Manama, Bahrain – see ‘Related Content’ under photograph.
Qatar have also entered the reigning World marathon silver medallist Mubarak Hassan Shami for the challenge in Amman. The former Kenyan is no stranger over the cross country having taken part in each of the last three editions of the World Cross Country Championships.
All other medallists from the Asian Cross Country Championships will also take part in Amman in what looks like a serious bid by the small Middle East country to beat favourites Kenya and Ethiopia to the team title.
Elshadai Negash for the IAAF
Qatar team for Amman 2009
12km Senior MEN
Saif Saeed Shaheen
Mubarak Hassan Shami
Ahmad Hassan Abdullah
Essa Ismail Rashed
Felix Kikwai Kibore
Gamal Belal Salem
Musa Amer Obaid
NB: seven athletes entered, but six will compete