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Revealed: Schools that produce top athletes

When schools famed as athletics giants stalled as production chains, others established in recent years picked up the baton. Athletics giants such as St Patrick’s High School Iten and Sing’ore Girls High School, among others, no longer produce world beating stars. St Patrick’s Iten Talk of St Patrick’s Iten and big names such as 1992 Olympic 3,000m steeplechase gold medalist Mathew Birir, Michael Boit (Olympic 800m bronze medalist), Wilson Kipketer, (four-time world 800m champion), Ibrahim Hussein (three-time Boston Marathon winner), Japheth Kimutai (World Junior 800m record holder), Wilson Boit Kipketer (former world record holder in 3000m steeplechase, World Champion, Olympic medalist, Peter Rono - Olympic gold medalist and many others, pop up. These big names have since retired from active athletics. Sing’ore Girls  The neighbouring Sing’ore Girls nurtured  5000m Olympic gold medalist Vivian Cheruiyot, Olympic 3000m steeplechase silver medalist Hyvin Kiyeng, 800m Olympic silver medalist and world champion Janeth Jepkosgei,  world Cross Country champion Viola Kibiwott, Cross Country and marathon ace Lydia Cheromei and 10,000m world champion and Sally Barsosio, just to name a few. Kimuron Secondary School But Kimuron Secondary School, located barely 10km from St Patrick’s Iten and about 3km away from Sing’ore Girls took over from the two giants. A look at the growing number of accomplished and upcoming athletes shining at the national and international stage, the two giants and others are missing in the list. School games which are expected to return this year, more new centres of talent are plotting to showcase their best. Schools that were not known for producing athletics talents in regions that have produced big shots in the history of Kenyan athletics are turning the tables and nurturing talents with consistency. Kimuron Secondary School has produced the world’s 800m kings. David Rudisha, the reigning 800m world record holder and Tokyo Olympic champion Emmanuel Korir were students in the institution. Edward Mperia, also an athlete in Kimuron, and who paced the late Olympian Agnes Tirop in Iten says he joined the school after Kapsait Secondary school, which nurtured tens of athletes, was closed down. Kimuron Secondary School principal Boniface Kunusia says his athletics team has been training even after inter-school competitions were banned to minimize spread of Covid-19. Saramek Secondary School Take for example Saramek Secondary School in Kericho which boasts of four Chebet’s who have dominated local and international races. The 2018 World Under-20 5,000m champion who is also the World Cross Country champion (2019), two-time World Cross Country Championship Emily Chebet, Sandrafelis Chebet and Caren Chebet. Kiptere Secondary School Kiptere Secondary School in Kericho is also on a mission of churning out top athletics talents. Winny Chebet, the Africa 1,500m champion who represented the country at the 2013 World Championships reaching the semifinals and winning silver medals at the 2006 World Junior Championships and 2005 World Youth Championships was a student of Kiptere. Her personal best in the 800 metres is 1:59.30 from 2013. She qualified to represent Kenya at the 2020 Olympics but reached the semi-finals in the event held in Tokyo. World Under-20 1500m champion Purity Chepkirui, Sheila Chepkirui, who is a former 5000m African champion and Winny Chebet – another former African Champion (1500m) have put Kiptere on the global map. Japheth Korir was also in Kiptere. At 19 years old, Korir became the youngest senior men’s champion in the history of the World Athletics Cross Country Championships when he won the race in Bydgoszcz, Poland. His talent was spotted while still a high school student in Kiptere Secondary School. While there, he won the African Cross Country Championships in Cape Town, South Africa, at the age of 17, and won a silver medal in the same race a year later. Kimwogo Secondary School in Elgeyo Kimwogo Secondary School in Elgeyo Marakwet is also basking in the glory of stars. It is located in Keiyo South research, the home of talent of retired athletes such as Wilson Boit Kipketer and Sally Barsosio among others. World record holder in the 10km road race, Rhonex Kipruto was a student in Kimwogo. He is the 2018 10,000m world Under-20 champion and the world bronze medalist in the distance. Gideon Kipketer, the marathoner who paced marathon world record holder at the INEOS 1:59 challenge in Vienna in 2019 is a product of Kimwogo. He set the 10 km road race fastest time of 26:24 on January 12, 2020 in Valencia, Spain. Marion Jepngetich, a form one student at Kimwogo Secondary School, beat out a strong field to win in heat in 8:59.03, during the World Under-20 National Trials at the Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani in July last year. The 16-year-old rising star didn’t however qualify to represent the country at the World Under-20 championships. Kosirai High School  Kosirai High School Nandi County and has churned out world beaters such as former 3000m steeplechase Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto and Commonwealth 3000m steeplechase silver medallist Abraham Kibiwot among others.The latest in Kosirai’s long list of top guns is World Under-20 800m champion Emmanuel Wanyonyi who is still a student in the school. Still in Nandi, Edinah Jebitok, who stormed to an unassailable win at the 78th Cross Internacional Juan Muguerza – a World Athletics Cross Country Tour Gold meeting in the Spanish town of Elgoibar on Sunday January 9, is a form two student at Cheptonon secondary school. In West Pokot, Chewoyet High School is still a leader in production of athletics talent. Africa under 18 5,000m silver medalist Jacob Krop is one of them. Michael Kibet who has competed in several races in Europe is also an alumni.

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