Etiang wishes Cheruiyot best of luck at Tokyo Olympics
In a gracious show of sportsmanship, world 1,500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot has received success wishes from Kamar Etiang, the teenager he replaced for the Tokyo Olympics Games.
The unheralded Etiang, who finished second at the Kenyan trials where he beat Cheruiyot in a ‘David vs Goliath show’ was eventually dropped from the team for not complying with Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) doping measures requiring three out-of-competition tests in the last 10 months and Cheruiyot picked instead.
The current and future champions met for the first time on Tuesday, since the national trials to pick Team Kenya for the Olympics on June 19 at the Kasarani Stadium. Etiang wished Cheruiyot a great outing in Tokyo as they took pictures together.
“Tim is a champion. I was happy to meet and wish him success at the Tokyo Olympic Games,” said Etiang when People Daily asked what they talked about during their meeting.
“It is not about me anymore but the country has to come first. He has it in him to deliver gold for us. He graciously said kind words to me too,” noted Etiang.
Cheruiyot was called up last week to join the Kenya team after it became evident Etiang was ineligible.
The world champion had finished fourth during team trials in June after aggravating a hamstring injury and suffering a family bereavement and was left out of the team initially.
“I am thrilled to be part of the Kenyan Olympic team. I am even happier to join the rest of the team in camp.
I am in better shape than I was during the trials and I promise to deliver a medal for Kenya in Tokyo,” said the 25-year-old middle distance runner who set the fastest times in the Stockholm and Monaco Diamond League meeting this month.
Kenya last won an Olympic 1,500m gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing when Asbel Kiprop was awarded the medal after Bahrain’s Rashid Ramzi was disqualified for doping at the Games, Cheruiyot will head to Tokyo as a clear favorite.
Meanwhile General Team Manager for the Tokyo squad Barnaba Korir said he had a chat with the two athletes and lauding their sportsmanship.
“In a rare display of sportsmanship, Etiang wished Cheruiyot a successful outing at the Tokyo Games backing him to win gold for Kenya,” he said in his official Facebook page.
“The gesture displayed by the two athletes is an example of building a lifelong friendships through sports.
I wish this young men the very best in their track careers,” read the statement.
Kenya will send a total of 40 athletes, to the Olympics which open on today.
The number was reduced from 43 after three athletes were dropped last week. They include, race walkers Samuel Gathimba and Emily Ngii, and 400m hurdler Moitalel Mpoke.