Kenya comes of age as athletics superpower

Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot

Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot

by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
Africa Editor
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE just-ended International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Championships in Beijing, China, will best be remembered as an event Kenya at last reached its full potential as the undisputed superpower in the field of athletics.

Over the years, the East African country has been merely known as a traditional long distance running nation, but the championships held in the Asian country helped demystify as a fine generation of athletes raked in the highest number of medals.

Kenya ended the Beijing Championship with an unassailable seven gold, six bronze and three bronze accolades thereby harvesting a total of 16 medals.

At the same event four years ago, it finished third behind the then-mighty Americans and Russia.

There were also memorable individual performances most prominently by Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot.

The 31-year-old from Keiyo District made history in the female’s 10 000 metres, with a record 31:41.31 a move that critics believe motivated other athletes to keep Kenya’s flag flying high.

It was befitting though the athletes received a red-carpet welcome upon returning to Kenya.

Deputy President William Ruto received the world-conquering athletes at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.

Meanwhile, second-placed Jamaica amassed 12 medals with seven gold, two silver and three bronze while third placed United States of America only managed six gold, six silver and six bronze, completing the championship with 18 medals, but far from dislodging Kenya at the top.

Fifth placed Ethiopia managed three gold, three silver and two bronze while another African nation – South Africa was far below at 13th position with just one gold and two bronze medals.

– CAJ News

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