I regret not having featured at the Olympics
Does the great Daniel Komen harbour any regrets about never going to the Olympics? Maybe he does.
For an individual who in 1996 and 1997 put together two astonishing years of distance running that the world had ever witnessed, winning dozens of races in top-flight competition and setting numerous world records, some which still hold, it is fair to say, he should be the in elite class of Olympians.
To put it into perspective, in early 1996 he was enjoying a great form but somehow failed to qualify for Atlanta Olympics. Four years later, in 2000 when his form had started dwindling, he again failed to qualify for Sydney.
“Will you fault me if a say I have regrets? Paused Komen in an interview with People Sport.
He added: “I had a stellar career but without an olympic appearance, so yes maybe I should have included that in my CV. I was fourth during the national trials for the 19196 Olympics, I think they should have drafted me to the team because at the moment I believe I was the best over the distance and just had a bad luck during the trials. I deserved a chance.”
Komen who has three world records –3,000m (indoor), 3,000m (outdoor) and two miles –under his belt admits that by mid 1998, his career had began to slide, with prolonged performance descent as he quit at 26 years old (officially), save for a few abortive comebacks.
“I had over 15 years in the sport I love, I couldn’t call that a brief stint. I enjoyed every bit of it, I gave it my best at all times,” narrated Komen, a glowing alumnus of Biwott Secondary School in Keiyo South.
He recalls how former 100m world champion Michael Johnson of the US gave him running shoes which he used to break the records. “It was a huge moment for me. Something had happened and I needed shoes urgently, then there was Johnson, it was a timely boost, he became my friend,” he made the revelation.
He says what made him a world beater is the desire to prove he was no pushover. He went into annals of history as the only man alive to run two miles under eight minutes where he set the world record mark of 7:58 in Hechtel, Belgium, on July, 19, 1997.
He then proved his mettle, setting the world indoor 3,000m record of 7:24.90 in Budapest, Hungary, on February, 6, 1998. Ethiopia’s multiple record holder Kenenisa Bekele and Haile Gebrselassie tried severally to break the records in vain, before athletics world branded the all-time marks as ‘Mt Everest’.
But at the Hauts-de-France Pas-deCalais in Lievin, France, two weeks ago Ethiopia’s Getnet Wale timed 7:24.98, going .0.04 seconds shy of Komen’s record, the legend says it was a close shave. “It is now a matter of when, not if,” he said.