I turned down Bahrain’s offer for Kenya – Levi Kibet oozes with confidence
As Kenya readies to host at least 130 countries for the World under 20 Championships slated for August 17 to 22 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, 5,000m favorite Levi Kibet could have been donning Bahrain’s maroon and white strip.
The form Three student at Kosirai High School in Nandi in an interview with People Sport admitted to have been tempted with a lucrative deal to join the oil-rich country not so long ago, but opted to remain a Kenyan.
Just like his elder brother Evans Rutto Chematot, he could now be in Manama, the capital of oil-rich nation of Bahrain, but he thinks otherwise.
Chematot is among the long list of young Kenyans cradle-snatched from high school straight to their new adopted countries mostly in middle East.
“I want to bring medals for my country and not an adopted nation. Yes I had a chance to go represent them but for me bringing medals for Kenya is the ultimate goal.
This I say graciously while respecting other people’s decisions,” said Kibet in what appeared like an indirect dig at his brother who has represented his adopted nation at the grandest stage, the Olympics Games.
Now, Kibet is eager to improve his pecking order in 5,000m race at the World Under 20 Championships.
“I train hard everyday. For my school, I want to follow in the footsteps of Mathew Kisorio who won silver at the World under 20 Championships in Poland in the 5,000m race in 2008.
“I want to win gold for Kenya and my school,” he talked of the school located in Chesumei sub-county, in Nandi.
Being the first World Under-20 event to be held on African soil, the country expect to have at least 2,000 participants gracing the event.
Edward Zakayo is the defending champion in the event having beaten among other newly crowned Olympic 10,000m champion Selemon Barega for the title in Tampere, Finland in 2018.
“Zakayo and many before him have proved that is is possible to become the world best, for me I want to keep that tradition by defending the title with all I got,” said Levi who won the men’s 5,000m in 13:39.58 with Benson Kiplangat coming home second in 13:40.41 during the national trials last month.
Meanwhile, the countdown continues in earnest with just 14 left to the biannual event that was initially planned for last year before it was delayed by a year due to Covid-19 crisis.
Organising Committee technical director Ibrahim Hussein says technical equipment are now under their custody having been cleared and transported to Kasarani Stadium over the weekend.