By Michael Wesonga
Team Kenya’s only gold medal winner so far, Ezekiel Kemboi, sneaked into the country Wednesday morning with a terse message for the Government: “You failed us.”
His return also left officials in London confused. National Olympic Committee of Kenya chairman Kipchoge Keino wondered why Kemboi returned, leaving the team behind. The other officials, too, didn’t know why he left or who changed his ticket.
Two days ago, Kemboi was excited by his win and as he usually does, ushered in the gold medal with his trademark jig, dancing to his favourite hit Emily Chepchumba by Bamwai Yegon.
After clocking 8:18:56 seconds to emerge the winner in the race and ably reclaim the title he earned at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Kemboi was optimistic that he had opened the way for fellow athletes to also get gold medals.
But these prized medals have been elusive. In the 1,500m race on Tuesday night, Kenyans, who are holders of the title, performed poorly with the first finishing sixth.
Kemboi, 30, dedicated his win to “President Kibaki for his devoted leadership, Prime Minister’s wife Mama Ida Odinga for her moral support (during a recent assault case), Kenyans and my family for their undivided support.”
In June, Kemboi, who is also a police officer, was accused of stabbing a woman but was cleared to join Team Kenya in London by the National Olympics Committee.
By winning the race, Kemboi stamped Kenya authority in the race as the country has won gold in the men’s steeplechase at every Olympics since 1984.
When he arrived in Eldoret, he went straight to his Elgon View Estate home from where he talked to The Standard. He confided that he is quitting steeplechase for marathon.
“I will probably be participating in my last steeplechase next month as I transit to the marathon category.”
His decision to change races, however, must also be given a nod by the Kenya National Olympics Committee and Athletics Kenya even if the coach approves.