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Kenya – The home of athletics

Explaining how Kenyan athletes have dominated athletic events over the years.

CONTRIBUTOR
Feature 07 Nov 2017, 01:14 IST
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15th IAAF World Athletics Championships Beijing 2015 - Day Five
Julius Yego

Kenya is internationally known to be the home of athletics and has produced several world champions. Beginning from the 1960s, Kenya has been able to produce a large number of the world-class athletes, more Olympic medallists, and more world record holders in the long distance races than any other nation in the world.

Some of the prominent athletes include Kipchoge Keino, David Rudisha, Catherine Ndereva, and Julius Yego. In 2012, David Rudisha broke the world record in the 2012 London Olympics in the 800 meters race. Based on history, it is apparent that Kenya is the home of athletics and its well know both in Africa and across the world. 

The Kenyan athletes started to be renowned from the time the 1972 Munich Olympics were organized, where Jipcho and Kipchoge Keino finished second first respectively. Possibly, an essential feat ever attained by a person from Kenya was Henry Rono's four world records in eighty-one days achieved in 1978, when this athlete set a world record in the ten thousand meters, and three thousand meters steeplechase, and three thousand meters flat and five thousand meters. Unfortunately, Rono was not in a position to exhibit his skill and talent at the Olympics, as Kenya did not take part in the 1976 and 1980 Olympic Games. 

Indeed, such a long layoff affected Kenya negatively when it came to the 1984 Olympics, and in this regard, Kenya attained only two track medals; a gold by Julius Korir in the three thousand steeplechase and a bronze by Mike Musyoki.


Kip Keino
Kip Keino

In 1986, another athlete by the name John Ngugi began a legacy of the cross country dominance in which he won the first of his five men's cross country champions Before that; there was no Kenyan who had been able to win the cross country championships. In 1987, at the fourth All African Games, Kenya exhibited its track competence by winning all men's long-distance athletics event. In the same year, at the World Championship, Billy Konchellah overcame asthma and TB to attain the gold medal in one of the most heroic performances that have ever been witnessed. 

Moreover, Douglas Wakihuri came out from nowhere to win the marathon and at the same time, Paul Kipchoge defeated the rest of the pack by more than fifty meters to become number one in the ten thousand meters race. 

 At the 2012 Olympic Games, Ezekiel Kemboi and David Rudisha presented unforgettable performances. In that event, David Rudisha came out to break the world record, turning out to be the first man to finish eight hundred meters in one minute and forty-one seconds and Ezekiel Komboi won by a significant margin in the 3000m steeplechase. 


Athletics - Olympics: Day 10
David Rudisha

Furthermore, Kenya was somehow recovered from the lackluster show in London to grab five gold medals at the World Athletics Championships of 2013. Most remarkable was the unheralded Sum Eunice, who came out from nowhere to lead in the women's eight hundred meters when a small number of people even expected her to even be in the finals. Apparently, the Kenyan women performed better than their male counterparts in this event, obtaining three gold medals. 

From these observations, it can be said that Kenya has produced many athletic champions over the years. Undeniably, this proves enough to show that Kenya is the home of athletics. When one mentions the word "Kenya," the first thing that comes to one's mind is the long distance races that have been won by the Kenya in the world's major athletic events. Evidently, Kenya has always been among the leading nations in the African continent when it comes to the World Championships and Olympic Games.

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