The Legend, Eliud Kipchoge,Returns.
Eliud Kipchoge returns home to a lowkey welcome at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi.
Acclaimed marathoner, Kipchoge landed in Kenya to a rather quiet welcome at the airport, a contrast to previous editions or Ugandan counterparts who arrived to pomp and color accompanied by prizes from the national government.
A further testament of Kenya’s neglect and lack of appreciation of her sports personalities given the unprecedented achievements of the long-distance sensation during the just concluded Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Lack of high delegation from the ministry of sports or sports officials from various levels was very discouraging.
Kipchoge, who spoke to journalists, asked Kenyans to celebrate the achievements made during the Olympics rather than talk about his plans such as retirement.
“I think it is good for us to celebrate the Olympics and not ask for retirement but all in all we have been trained very well and we participated in a good way and we got the best result and that is why we are here,” he said when questioned his view on Kenya’s performance at the just concluded games.
He further highlighted his future plans to inspire the next generation of runners from not just in Kenya but the world as a whole.
“I have a huge plan to inspire the youth and to inspire everybody in this world, I want to inspire Kenyans, I want to make running the Kenyan lifestyle. I want to tell those young people to respect the sport or treat the sport as a profession. Running is where freedom is”, said Kipchoge at the airport.
Coming in the wake of a bumpy Tokyo games that saw numerous African athletes especially in track and field events including Kenya’s Mark Otieno disqualified from 100 metres for failing anti-doping tests, the legendary Kenyan asked young athletes to treat the sport with decorum it deserves.
“Treat it as a profession, make that sport actually…. You know actually in running there is freedom whereby you enjoy running. I want to tell the young people to concentrate, be self-disciplined and above all respect the sport and make it a real profession,” advised the double Olympic champion over the 42 kilometres distance.
Accompanied by 1,500-meters Olympic Silver medalist, Timothy Cheruiyot, Kipchoge promised to continue inspiring the young runners through various platforms and not just by running given the numerous opportunities to do so.
The small reception of the world record holder and his colleagues led to a social media outrage as critics argued that the Kenyan government did not celebrate the star athletes appropriately.
By Didacus Malowa