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Viva champions: Nandi and Uasin Gishu tell stars

ATHLETICS By Stephen Rutto and Edward Kosut | August 15th 2021
Olympic marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir (right) and Amos Kipruto (left) arrive in Kapsabet town on Thursday evening. [Stephen Rutto, standard]

After a cold reception at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Tokyo Olympic marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir, silver medalist Brigid Kosgei and Amos Kipruto received a heroic welcome in Eldoret and Nandi.

On Friday afternoon, a grand reception was laid at Eldoret International Airport. It was song and dance as Jepchirchir were garlanded with Sinendet, the Kalenjin ornamental plant used to honour heroes and heroines. 

On hand to receive them were governor Stephen Sang (Nandi) and Uasin Gishu deputy governor Daniel Chemno.

The convoy of over 20 vehicles snaked through Eldoret-Kisumu highway with athletics fans in Mosoriot and other trading centres lining up along the road to welcome the athletes.

On Wednesday, the script was the same in Kericho town, where Olympic 800m silver medalist Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich received a heroic welcome in a ceremony graced by governor Paul Chepkwony.

Governor Chepkwony offered Cheruiyot a job in the county’s sports department following the sterling show in Tokyo.

“I am happy to be back home. God answered our prayers in Tokyo. I was worried even before leaving Kenya, after I saw the poor performance in the men’s 10,000m. I was tense, but later on, I gained the courage and went for the gold medal,” Jepchirchir said. 

Kipruto thanked athletics fans for supporting and welcoming him even after injury ended his hopes of winning a marathon at the Tokyo Games.

The world bronze medallist said he will start preparing for global competitions after taking a rest. “I still have opportunities to excel again” he said.

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