The all-winning national athletics team arrived back to the country in the morning to a cordial welcome with Kenyans from all walks of life milling at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to welcome the heroes and heroine home.
Business came to a standstill at the busy Airport as security condoned the arrival termini to pave way for national leaders led by Deputy President William Samoei Ruto to receive the arriving squad of 20 athletes and 15 officials who touched down from China around 06.00 am.
As opposed to the past when only a handful of relatives, Athletics Kenya officials and friends turns up for such home-coming, the morning arrival was witnessed by the entire nation with those at home waking up earlier than usual to get a glimpse of the mighty sons and daughters of the nation who beat all odds to finish at the top on Television sets.
All prior programmes were reschedules as the government line up new movements to give the team more sense of patriotism following the historic exploits in the Chinese capital where the country’s sporting glory scaled new heights.
“We are proud of our country. We have proved beyond reasonable doubt that we are a sporting nation. This is the best results for us in the history of athletics,” said Joseph Kinyua, the team manager of the contingent that won a total of 16 medals- seven Gold, six Silvers and three Bronze during the 15th IAAF World Championship that ended on Sunday.
Ezekiel Kemboi, the indomitable lion of 3,000metres Steeplechase and self-made Julius Yego were the toast of the team and all cameras and hands were directed to them for the memorable performance during the 9 days of the global event.
Kemboi won his 4th World Championship title in a classic style, driving his team to a salivating 1-2-3-4 finish, almost the replica of Athens Olympics when he commanded Brimin Kipruto and Paul Kipsiele Koech to a 1-2-3 medal wipe-out in the same event.
“Niliwaambia mimi ni Baba yao. Nimekuwa nikikimbia kwa muda mrefu na najua siri. Niliwaonyesha njia,” (I told them I am senior. I have been running for a long time and I know the secret. I showed the way,” said the jovial and confident Presidential Escort Sergeant who captained the most decorated team in the country.
Deputy President Rutto, who was accompanied by dozens of political leaders, mingled with the celebrated team as Nairobi Senator Mike ‘Sonko’ Mbuvi found a new role of providing security and control checks with his Sonko Rescue Team.
Vehicles of all makes, decorated with Portraits of President Uhuru Kenyatta, The Deputy President William Ruto, Mike Sonko and some of the medalists provided a rare spectacle as the charged crowd pushed and shoved, necking to catch the glimpse of the decorated heroes.
As the convoy of Hammers, Ranger Rovers, Prados and other state of the art automobiles snaked out of the Airport to a loop of honour down town before heading to KICC where by 1.00pm, welcoming speeches were going, all Kenyans were trying to understand the significant of what it mean to be on top of the World.
“We are truly proud of our athletes. They have shown to the Whole World that Kenya is a Sporting Nation. Beating big nations like Jamaica, United States, Russia and others is not a mean achievement. This will mark a milestone in the history of the Country,” summed up Prof Helen Sambili, a former Sports and Youth Minister at KICC.
The celebration mood was set by Deputy President William Ruto who announced the President will host the team to a National Breakfast on Thursday morning before inviting the team for the warm up at his home today.
More celebrations are expected at County level when the medalists retreat to their homes to be welcome by families and friends.
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