Cheprot says nothing beats humanity

By JONATHAN KOMEN: Thursday, May 30th 2019 at 00:05 GMT +3 | Athletics
Simon Cheprot helps his fellow Kenyan who collapsed in the IAAF Okpekpe International 10km road race in Nigeria. [Courtesy]

Simon Cheprot, the former winner of the IAAF Okpekpe International 10km road race in Nigeria, stands out as an athlete with a golden heart.

Last weekend, he exhibited an act of selflessness that went viral and slid him into global fame. Cheprot chose to stop few metres to the finish line to help fellow Kenyan Kenneth Kipkemoi who had collapsed.

He said yesterday: "There is nothing that beats humanity in this world. Money, riches and all cannot supersede humanity. Competitions are meant to unite people. But it should not be taken as if we are at war; we are brothers and sisters. 

"I saw Kipkemoi struggling and an instinct compelled me to stop and help him. You cash watch your fellow athlete falling down and pass simply because you want to win the prize money....we do not run for money but we compete to send messages of love, unity and health."

"When you die, you will never take anything. But God will ask you the good things you did. It is good to always remain humane," he said.

Cheprot finished 22nd at the 2014 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark before settling for ninth place at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff, Wales, in 2016.

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The Nigeria IAAF representative Mike Itemuagbor described him as “our hero” and later rewarded him Sh1m for his humanitarian effort. The organisers of the 7th Okpekpe International 10km Road Race also rewarded him Sh2m shillings for being "brother's keeper"

"This guy Simon Cheprot is a hero, not to Kenya only but to the entire world. He was on the verge of winning at Okpekpe Int'l 10KM Road Race in Nigeria on Sunday but stopped a few metres from the finish line to help his teammate Kenneth Kipkemoi who had collapsed. Humanity," Dixon Moses tweeted.

"On Saturday, Kenyan athlete Simon Cheprot was on his final seconds to win the 2019 Okpekpe International 10Km race when something suddenly happened.

"Suddenly, he saw his compatriot and rival Kenneth Kipkemoi collapse just as they were approaching the finish line. How heartbreaking that is," the story started.

"To the surprise of many, Cheprot dropped his ambition of winning the Okpekpe title for a second time and instead stopped to pick his colleague, lifted him up and they both walked slowly until they finally crossed the finish line. They finally finished at position 15 and 16.

At the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea, Sharon Cherop stopped mid-way through the marathon race to help Edna Kiplagat who had taken a fall.

Kiplagat won the race ahead of Prisca Jeptoo while Cherop finished third. Cherop, who served at the Kenya Defence Forces then, exhibited a high level of patriotism.

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