Last updated 4 years ago | By JONATHAN KOMEN
Eliud Kipchoge is keen to win marathon gold at the Olympic Games that start in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on August 5-21.
This medal is the only gem that is missing from his enviable collections and the dream to attain the feat starts immediately after Athletics Kenya names the marathon squad to the Samba nation conquest.
He won bronze in 5,000m at the 2004 (Athens) and silver medals during 2008 (Beijing) Olympics.
At 18 years, Kipchoge graduated to senior athletic ranks in a spectacular fashion – winning the 5,000 metres final at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Paris in 2003, where he also set a world junior record.
Although he could not maintain the rhythm as some other athletes do, Kipchoge longs to replay that feat in the South American nation.
“I think that’s a good opportunity to represent the nation. I am optimistic I can break the world record in future; there are high hopes and good things that wait ahead. But I should wait for AK to name the team, then relax, sit down and plan well,” said Kipchoge.
He missed a place in the 2012 London Olympics and finished sixth at the 2012 IAAF World Half Marathon in Kavarna, Bulgaria.
But Kipchoge has made superb amends into winning all his marathon races –except Berlin Marathon in 2013, where he finished second behind Wilson Kipsang, who set a world record.
“I was competing in track for more than 10 years and think I gave my best. I concentrated fully on marathon,” said Kipchoge, a close ally of former Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion and world silver medalist, Brimin Kipruto.
The giant-slaying Kipchoge stands out among Kenya’s high-achieving long distance runners, having bagged medals at the World Championships and Olympic Games.
He is also one of the most consistent athletes in track running, having amassed huge exploits for close to a decade –just like world and Olympic 3,000 metres steeplechase champion, Ezekiel Kemboi.
But Kipchoge’s rise to stardom offers refreshing moments in athletics – it simply inspires and warms the hearts of budding athletes.
Kipchoge ran casually in school and could not go beyond zonal competitions. But after completing Form Four at Kaptel Boys High School in Nandi North, he decided it was time to make a living from athletics.
Incidentally, he didn’t have to look outside his village for inspiration, as he wanted to emulate neighbour Patrick Sang, the 1992 Barcelona Olympics steeplechase silver medalist, who still guides him at the Global Sports Communications in Kaptagat.
His raw talent and unbridled love for athletics all conspired and thus, he could not hesitate exploring it.
The only athlete and last born in the family of four started running on local roads at his Kapsisywo village.