Kenyans across the country went into celebration frenzy on Tuesday and Wednesday morning after 800metres King David Rudisha and ever-winning Faith Kipyegon won the country the second and third gold medal before budding Consenslus Kipruto added the impetus with the fourth.
The much-awaited medals were deserving rewards to athletics fans that cut short their morning sleep to cheer their fellow Kenyans in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Olympic Games nears its climax.
Rudisha, also the reigning World Champion and World Record holder over the distant, successfully defended his London Olympic title with ease, clocking 1:42.15, after fellow Kenyan Alfred Kipketer took the competitors through the fast lap in a killer pace of 49.23.
“I feel honoured that many Kenyans stayed up late to watch this race. I want to thank them all and dedicate this victory to all of them. It is a great sacrifice,” said Rudisha, a traffic police officer after managing to win the title back to back.
As the country’s flag unfurled in the Brazilian city, back in the country, Rudisha’s victory was felt even by the lowly as his family, led by his wife Lizy Naanyu, distributed goodies to street children in Eldoret town, famous now as ‘The City of Champions’.
For Faith Kipyegon, a multiple title holder, winning Kenya’s third gold medal in Rio is an achievement that will catapult the former twice world cross-country junior champion as she becomes the second Kenyan in the history of the Olympics to win the title after Nancy Jebet Lagat in 2008 in Beijing.
But the climax of the 6th day of athletics competition was crowned by none other than Consenslus Kipruto who, after playing second fiddle to experienced veteran Ezekiel Kemboi in the water and barrier event, managed not only a gold medal but an Olympic record.
Consenslus, a Diamond League favourite, made an early move to break away from tactical and tricky Kemboi and enjoyed a celebrative 30metres gap and trashed Julius Kariuki’s 28-years old Olympic record of 8:05.51 that has been unmatched since Seoul Olympics in 1988.
The victories by the three bring the country’s medal tally to six- four gold and two silver medals since the Games begun a week ago.
Jemimah Sumgong was the first to open the gold medal column with a historic women Marathon triumph during the third day of athletics competitions. Vivian Cheruiyot and Hyvin Kiyeng are the winners of the silver medals after finishing seconds in women’s 10,000metres and women 3,000metres Steeplechase respectively.
Kenya is optimistic of harvesting more medals this week as Boniface Mucheru, Aaron Koech compete in the men’s 400metres hurdles finals this evening.
Other events remaining include women 5,000m where ViVian Cheruiyot, Mercy Cherono and Hellen Obiri are favourites.
Asbel Kiprop, Elijah Manangoi and Ronald Kwemoi (1,500m) and marathon trio of Eliud Kipchoge, Stanley Biwott and Wesley Korir as well as the team of Margaret Nyairera, Eunice Sum and Winnie Chebet (800) are prospects for the precious medals.
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