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Kenyan team arrived back to heroic welcome

ATHLETICS By Dennis Okeyo | October 8th 2019

There’s no stopping for victorious Kenyan stars

From Left- Marathoner Amos Kipruto bronze Medalist, Timothy Cheruiyot 1500meters gold medalist and Ronex Kipruto 10,000meters bronze medalist arrive at JKIA from World athletics championships held in Qatar. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Like real world champions, Kenyan athletics returned with broad smiles after a successful outing at the 17th edition of IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

The team, which finished second in the table standing behind USA with 11 medals (5 gold, 2 silver and 4 bronze medals), replicating similar results two years ago in the London worlds, was received by government officials led by Sports CS Amina Mohammed, former Vice President Moody Awuori, who is also a member of the Sports, Art and Social Development Fund board, among others. 

The champions now turn their guns to the 2020 Olympics Games in Tokyo, Japan with two-time world champion Hellen Obiri and Conseslus Kipruto promising a bruising battle.

“In 10,000m, I gave my best but disappointingly, I didn’t finish in the position I wanted. It took a lot encouragement from family and coaches to convince me not give up on 5,000m,” said Obiri yesterday at JKIA.

“I’m glad I gave it my best shot and I was rewarded with a gold medal. It feels good to have successfully defended the title,” added Obiri, who was received by her father as well as her husband, Tom Nyaundi. 

Coach Tom Nyaundi with her wife Hellen Obiri at JKIA from World athletics championships held in Qatar. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Obiri, who is also the Word Cross Country Champion, added; “I haven’t lost hope in the 10,000m race; in fact, I am preparing to run in the forthcoming Olympics. I will give it full concentration and I won’t want to gamble again. The Olympics gold is the only medal missing in my cabinet, I’m going for it.”

After defending his 3,000m steeplechase world title in a photo-finish dash in Doha, Conseslus Kipruto is now seeking to defend his Olympics title and attempt to set a new world record.

The 15-year-old World Record of 7:53.63 is held by Kenyan-born Saif Saaeed Shaheen of Qatar set on September 3, 2004 in Brussels.

“I had a troubled season; I was almost losing hope of going for the Doha World championships, but I am so grateful with my performance,” said Kipruto.

“If I could defend my title when I wasn’t fully fit, what of when I am fully prepared! Next season, I’m going for two things; to defend my Olympic title and set a new world record.”

Timothy Cheruiyot, who was welcomed by hundreds of Prisons staff led by senior assistant prison commissioner Nicholas Maswai and Cathrene Ndereba, is delighted with his world title.

Ruth Chemetich arrive at JKIA from World athletics championships held in Qatar. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

“I’m off the pressure now, but really thankful with how the finals went. I ran according to the script of my coach. I’m now a world champion. Next target is the Olympic title,” said Cheruiyot.

World women steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech also expressed her joy on winning the world title.

“After breaking the world record last year in the Monaco Diamond League, I was under intense pressure to deliver gold in Doha and I’m happy I withstood the pressure and won comfortably,” said Chepkoech.

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