Veteran athlete Ezekiel Kemboi comes out of retirement, to run in Dubai
Former world and Olympic steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi says contrary to huge public opinion, he has not retired from active running ahead of making a debut at the 2021 Dubai Run next week.
The 39-year-old who carved a splendid career on track in the water and hurdle race was among six other Kenyan athletes who left the country on Wednesday night for the city located in United Arab Emirates.
Kemboi says he is equally shocked with suggestions that he is coming back from retirement, having not retired in the first place.
“I don’t recall ever announcing my retirement,” said Kemboi.
“Just because you’ve not seen me in the limelight doesn’t mean I’ve retired. I am still busy behind the scenes preparing for road races,” he added.
In 2019, Kemboi made his marathon debut in Hamburg, Germany a race he did not finish.
He says his new challenge of running the longer 42km distance against some of the strongest and fastest marathon runners is something he is working towards.
“Kemboi has won the Olympics, Worlds, Commonwealth Games and Africa titles, so this one he will conquer, when I can’t say with certainty,” added Kemboi.
Africa’s fastest man
Kemboi will be joined by Africa’s fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala in the run, dubbed “Run with the Champions”, will see participants among them the Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, take part in 5km and 10km races along the iconic Sheikh Zayed superhighway on November 26.
The 2021 Dubai Run is among several activities lined-up for the seven athletes who will represent Kenya at the Expo 2020 Dubai.
The Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency (Keproba), who will manage Kenya’s pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai, aim to use to showcase Kenya as a destination for investment, sports, and tourism.
Apart from Kemboi and Omanyala the other Kenyan athletes include , former 800m world champion Janeth Jepkosgei, 2013 London Marathon winner Priscah Jeptoo, 2021 Berlin Marathon first runner-up Bethwel Yegon, Jonathan Kiplimo Maiyo, who set a personal best time of 2:04:56 at the 2012 Dubai Marathon, and 2010 Nagpur half-marathon winner Hellen Nzembi.
Omanyala is the leader of the athletes’ delegation. Omanyala, who will do the 3km at the Expo run, while Kemboi will do 10km run.
The run will start at the Kenyan pavilion and, it will have three courses - 3km, 5km, and 10km routes.
The Expo 2020 Dubai was initially scheduled to take place from October 20, 2020, to April 10, 2021, but it was cancelled due to Covid-19.