It's time to honour the late Kiptum with Olympic medals

French ambassador of sports Samuel Ducroquet (centre) in a morning run in Iten. [Stephen Rutto, Standard]

French Ambassador of Sports Samuel Ducroquet has opened up on French-Kenya sporting ties.

The sports envoy has been in Kenya as the race towards the 2024 Paris Olympics to be hosted by his country, France gathers momentum.

At least 15,000 participants in various disciplines from across the globe will be in Paris from July 26 to August 11 the Olympics showdown.

Apart from touring sports projects in Elgeyo Marakwet, a county christened the Home of Champions, Ducroquet was in Kenya to pay tribute to the late marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum.

Standard Sport caught up with the envoy, who shared his thoughts on a number of topics in an interview.

2024 Paris Olympics

The sports ambassador says he eagerly expects Kenyan athletes to win medals at the Paris Olympics as a way of paying tribute to Kiptum, who perished in a road accident on February 11.

“Everyone will be filled with emotions when they hear the Kenyan anthem as the athletes receive their medals,” says Ducroquet.

He says the Paris Olympics will be a fantastic celebration of sport, friendship and excellence. According to him, the world needs to gather in friendship.

Preparations for the global contest

France has been preparing for several years for the largest sporting event in the world – the 2024 Paris Olympics, the ambassador says.

In his estimation 15,000 athletes from across the world will be in Paris for the Olympics and Paralympics. “It is a great moment for us and we are looking forward to it.”

What to expect in Paris

To athletes and sports enthusiasts, Ducroquet says, you will not be disappointed.

He says the competition venue will be a sight to behold. Participants and enthusiasts will relish the Champ-de-Mars, a park located at the foot of the Eiffel Tower among other iconic sites.

“Not everyone can come to Paris. We will try, through our diplomatic networks and our partners across the world, to open the games and ensure more people enjoy the show,” he said.

Training partnership with Miramas

The sports envoy says Miramas is yearning to welcome team Kenya to France.

He added that Kenyan athletes have had chances to try the world class facilities of Miramas.

“They have run on the track, indoor and outdoor. The people of Miramas are very welcoming and eager to meet Kenyan athletes and the delegation as well as the fans coming to support the team,” said the ambassador.

French ambassador of sports Samuel Ducroquet with late marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum's widow Asaneth. [Stephen Rutto, Standard]

An exchange programme with Elgeyo Marakwet

“Our partnership with Elgeyo Marakwet is based on our human ties. It resulted from the Miramas training partnership.”

“Kenyan athletes coming to Miramas contributed to the sports development relationship between the country and France work,” he said.

The partnership with Elgeyo Marakwet, he says, entails exchange of athletes, coaches and culture.

French athletes training in Kenya ahead of Paris show

“I am not sure what the federation is planning, but I know that many French athletes like to come to Iten to train and prepare for the (Olympic) games.

“I recently had a discussion with pentathlon athletes who come here (Kenya) to sharpen their skills. They were delighted that whenever they look at images of Iten, they want to come back to train again,” said Ducroquet.

Gender-based violence

He says France will partner with organisations protecting both young women and male athletes from domestic and Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

“We had a meeting with Tirop Angels, providing shelter to youngsters facing abuse,” he said.

Tirop Angels was established to support GBV victims in sport following the killing of celebrated athlete Agnes Tirop in 2021.

Kelvin Kiptum’s tragic loss

“As the ambassador of Sports in the French foreign ministry, it was extremely important to visit Kenya and pay my condolences to celebrated athlete Kelvin Kiptum and pay tribute to the wonderful athlete and person he was,” Ducroquet said.

“We wanted to make a gesture of sympathy from the French Government to the athlete who was expected at the 2024 Paris Marathon in France.”

“I told the family that his legacy will live on."

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