Hero’s welcome as gallant team Kenya athletes arrive home

Tuesday, October 8th, 2019 00:00 |
World 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri is welcomed by her family and friends. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

Team Kenya athletes received a hero’s welcome at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) yesterday, after finishing second in the just-concluded IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Family, friends and hired dancers gathered at the arrivals section of the airport to receive the athletes who arrived in the afternoon. 

And when the champion checked out, red roses and Mursik (Kalenjin milk) was there to receive them.

The disciplined forces, whose athletes won a gold each, were there to receive their athletes with the Prisons department sending a huge contingent to welcome new 1,500m champion Inspector Timothy Cheruiyot.

National Police Service came for 3,000m steeplechase winner Beatrice Chepkoech, but two-time world 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri had no one from Kenya Defence Forces to receive her.

The other two gold medallists, Conseslus Kipruto 3,000m and marathoner Ruth Chepng’etich, both unattached, were received by their families.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed, who arrived with the athletes, delivered the government’s congratulatory message.

“I want to thank our gallant ambassadors for representing us well in Qatar. I am happy to have cheered them when flying our flag high. They, once again, showed out resilience,” said Amina.

“It’s through the good work of our athletes that as a government we are able to bid for 2025 World Championships,” said Amina, adding that all medalists will be paid promptly.

Athletics Kenya (AK) officials, led by Nairobi branch chairman and NEC member Barnaba Korir lauded the team for showing determination even when most had written them off.

“You all saw how it went. I think we need to appreciate what our athletes are doing. The performance matched results from two years ago.

It shows we are a top nation in athletics. From the photo finish of Conseslus Kipruto to the powerful run by Timothy Cheruiyot. That is what makes Kenya a powerhouse,” said Korir.

Kipruto, who won his second world title, sounded a warning to his rivals.

“A steeplechase is a Kenyan event and that is the message I wanted to pass. To my opponents, if you never defeated me in a season I was injured, that will never happen,” said Kipruto.

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