He would wait until the last 200m to make that quick dash to the finish line. At that time, millions of Kenyans watching on TV would be sitting on the edge of their seats; another nail-biting moment. Asbel Kiprop, the three-time World 1,500m champion would then plough his way back to the front and cross the finish line with a punch in the air.
Kiprop had won it yet again by the skin of his teeth. To him, perhaps, it was another day out in the park. Earlier this week, the gripping drama over his extra marital love affair has given Kenyans a peep into the life of this extraordinary athlete. His human frailties have been exposed.
The jubilation and the patriotic verve that comes with another gold medal in the bag for Kenya has been replaced by feelings of glee, bitterness and pity from millions of his fans: How could he do it? Some have asked.
Though what he does away from the track is his private business, this newspaper is of the view that the country owes Kiprop more than he owes it. From media reports, it is evident that since he tested positive for the endurance-boosting drug EPO in November 2017, Kiprop is a broken man on a downward spiral.
For winning the country so much glory, we owe it to him and his family to help him deal with disappointment and heartbreak. To start, he and his family need counselling to smooth things over and at the very least, encourage him that failing a doping test need not be the end of life.
There are those who think that the troubles of Kiprop – attributed to sudden glory and loads of money- are not isolated; that dozens other Kenyan athletes are nearing tipping point in their lives.
Authorities should seek them out and give them the help they need to get back on their feet.
Those with the experience of dealing with such strife should rally behind him. He can learn from the example of US athlete Justin Gatlin, 35, who having twice been banned for doping violations, came back to become a world champion, the latest at the World Championships in London last year.?