It's not often that we admit having underestimated our sports personalities performances. What with all the mismanagement and wrangling engulfing our sports disciplines, one performance is never replicated as officials flock the game in the effort to 'eat' and be fed.
Ndereba makes it for the tape with her 2nd World Championships marathon title.
But the Kenyan athletics team to Osaka did put a brave fight and the athletes collected a total of 13 medals : 5 gold 3 silver and 5 bronze. This is the best performance that the country has had since the games started in 1983. What's more admirable is the good performance by the ladies led by marathon great Catherine Ndereba and Janeth Jepkosgei in the 800m.
Another athlete who made me immensely proud is unheralded Alfred Kirwa Yego (20 years old) who showed that you don't have to be well-known and experienced to win major meet races.
They saved my blushes as I watched the final day where I thought Kenya would have grabbed 2 more gold medals than they did.
I'll say I was incensed when I saw our weaknesses repeated on the track as Eliud Kipchoge was rounded out in the final 100m by Kenyan-born Bernard Lagat to settle for silver. The guy almost strolled onto the finish line as he made easy meal of the Kenyan athletes. He made it a double winning the 1500m & 5000m to emulate his friend and Moroccan great Hisham el Guerrouj.
Alfred Yego grabs a sneaky win in the men's 800m
I'll not want to dwell on the negatives , that's another post another day, but right now I'll eat humble pie and salute all athletes who won medals in Osaka with 3 cheers going out to the gold medallists !
Janeth Jepkosgei- 800m women
Catherine Ndereba- marathon women
Alfred Yego- 800m men
Brimin Kipruto - 3000m steeplechase
Luke Kibet-men's marathon
Ezekiel Kemboi - 3000m steeplechase
Eliud Kipchoge - 5000m men
Vivian Cheruiyot- 5000 women
Eunice Jepkorir- 2000m women's steeplechase
Priscah Jepleting Cherono-5000m women
Shadrack Korir- 1500m men
Richard Matelong- 3000m steeplechase men
Moses Mathathi- 10000m men
Kenya's marathon teams
Women won world cup for title race
Men were placed 3rd for the same
The team won a total of US$ 550000 (approx 36.8 million Kenya shillings)prize money. Some loot !
Thanks to Kenyanomics, I'll put a bit of brief on USA's Bernard Lagat (formerly from Kenya).
He won the gold in the 1500m & 5000m at the just concluded World Athletics Championships. This is after trying way back in 2000 while running for Kenya he won the bronze medal in Sydney Olympics and added a silver to this in the world championships in Edmonton in 2001. In 2004 at Athens -Olympics,he settled for the silver after being edged out by his friend and nemesis on the distance Hisham el Guerrouj.
In 2003 he had the lowest time in his career after being alleged to have taken performance enhancing drugs but he was exonerated from this and has recovered remarkably from the accusations.
In 2005, he became a naturalised US citizen. Outing him, he says, "Every time I run, every time I go to bed, I am thinking about a gold medal in the Olympic Games," he says. "And I want to compete for the United States. I feel I have almost a duty to run well for the American fans."
He is married and has a son. He is currently residing in Tuscon, Arizona and is contemplating buying a house in Germany Tubingen to use for residential training while in Europe for the Grand Prix meets and other competitions. He is the younger brother to Mary Chepkemboi-African champion in 1984 held in Rabat, Morocco. He says his next big dream is at least a gold medal in next year's Beijing Olympics where I guess he'll start as favourite going by this year's performance.
I also think Nike will approach him for product endorsements as will other US companies. Top $$$ bro !