Pomp, colour as Team Kenya returns to a heroic welcome

Pomp, colour as Team Kenya returns to a heroic welcome

Song and danced rented the air early Monday afternoon when Kenya’s heroic team, returning from an impressive performance at this year’s World Athletics Championships in Qatar, Doha touched down at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Friends and relatives mixed freely with the athletes as they soaked the atmosphere.

At hand to receive the athletes were Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed, former Vice President Moody Awori and Athletics Kenya officials.

Kenya came out second in championships with a total of 11 medals; five gold, two silver and four bronze – marching the heights attained in 2017 Championships held in London, United Kingdom. USA topped with 26 medals.

Ruth Chepngetich (marathon), Beatrice Chepkoech (3,000m steeplechase), Conseslus Kipruto (3,000m steeplechase), Hellen Obiri (5,000m) and Timothy Cheruiyot (1,500m) led from the front bagging gold for Kenya.

Amina who had also accompanied the team to Doha could not hide her delight over the team’s exemplary performance.

“Mine is to congratulate all of you for a job well done in Doha. You kept our flag up and you have kept the promise of athletics in Kenya and we are very proud. I will personally not forget Faith (Kipyegon) who despite having a serious injury fought hard,” said Amina.

On his part, Awori who was among the first Kenyan delegation to arrive in Doha before the championship hailed Kenyans living in Qatar who turned up in large numbers to support their compatriots.

“We had so many Kenyans who came to cheer our athletes and I really thank them. I am very proud of all our athletes those who won medals and even those who did not win,” observed the veteran politician.

After the Doha Championships, the next big battle frontier is the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games penciled to run from July 24- August 9 in the Japanese capital.

“I have the World record, the World Championship record and title. My target now is to get an Olympic gold and if possible lower the world record,” said the newly crowned 3000m steeplechase world champion Beatrice Chepkoech.

Her sentiments were echoed by the new marathon queen Ruth Chepngetich who has already secured her ticket for the Tokyo Games.

“I hope to do well there (Tokyo). I understand that weather is similar to Doha’s so let’s wait and see; for now I am going to have a rest,” said Chepnegtich.

After defending his title in a dramatic finish, Olympic and World 3,000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto has vowed to retain his title in Tokyo.

“If I could defend my title while I am not fully-fit then Kenyans should not worry because I assure them I am going to bring back the Olympic title,” Kipruto said.

“I am going for the off-season and thereafter I resume my preparations towards the Olympic Games,” observed world 1,500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot.

Kenya won her silver medals through Margaret Chelimo (5,000m) and Faith Kipyegon (1,500m) while Rhonex Kipruto (10,000m) Ferguson Rotich (800m), Agnes Tirop (10,000m) and Amos Kipruto (marathon) won bronze.