Cheruiyot seeks solace in farming as Covid-19 bites

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020 00:00 |
World 1,500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot tends to his potato and maize plantations in Nakuru. Photo/PD/ERICSON KIPRONO

Ericoson Kiprono

With the athletics programme across the globe having been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, many professional runners are struggling to stay afloat.

However, for world 1500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot, the reduced training programme has given him time to tend to his farm.

At his home in Bomet, the athlete has five hectares of tea bushes and recently acquired a further 10 hectares in Kuresoi, Nakuru County where he now cultivates potatoes and maize.

Cheruiyot, the eldest of four siblings, says farming is his cup of tea, having been born to tea and maize farmers in Sigorwet Village in Bomet.

“Growing potatoes is easy, profitable and gives returns in just three months. One acre will produce a minimum of 90 bags and with good management, you can harvest up to 120,” Cheruiyot told People Sport at his farm on Monday.

“Besides athletics, farming is my other favourite activity. For tea, you get bonuses at the end of the year. Above all, it also creates employment for the local community who offer their services in my farms,” he added.

To produce between 90 and 120 bags of potatoes on a one-acre farm, Cheruyoit says one requires an investment of between Sh60,000 and Sh80,000 per season depending on the maturity time of the variety.

The athlete is currently working on establishing a dairy farm as he seeks to scale up his farm production. 

But while he focusses on farming, Cheruiyot has not forgotten athletics. 

He trains alone to keep fit during the break with encouragement from family and friends playing a major part.

Before the pandemic, he had been training alongside stable-mate and rival Elijah Manangoi, whom he succeeded as the world champion in Doha, Qatar last year.

That was after winning back-to-back Diamond League trophies in a season that he owned the 1,500m race.

However, his hopes of winning a fourth Diamond League and an Olympics gold went up in smoke as both events were postponed.

“We are in a very difficult situation as athletes but we take heart because it is a global problem. I had set my sights on the Diamond League and the Olympic Games.

We have to accept the postponements because nothing much could have been done,” he said.

However, Cheruiyot still hopes to return strong and possibly even break the two decade long world record set by Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj.

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