Why young Simon Kiprop Koech prefers ‘bottom-up’ to rise

Wednesday, August 4th, 2021 00:18 |
Simon Kiprop Koech (left in white) skips a barrier during the 3,000m steeplechase race at World Athletics Championships trials in Kasarani Last month. INSET: Koech crosses the finish line to win the race. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

Young Simon Kiprop Koech is optimistic of leaving a mark when he lines up in the 3,000 metres steeplechase race at the World Athletics Under-20 Championships from August 17-22.

Koech who hails from Ng’echepchat village in Bureti, Kericho County reckons they will be out to shine on home soil.

“I know things will change soon. I’m working hard with an eye on the gold medal. My target is to make sure we run as a team so that we can help one another to beat the opposition,” he told People Sport on phone.

Koech dropped out of school due to lack of school fee but that did not deter him from pursuing athletics.

“Life has been unbearable for me and that’s why I dropped out of school and started training hoping to make a life from my talent.

Although I didn’t have the right gear, I didn’t give up and I’m happy that my star has started to shine,” he said.

He added: “Getting a chance to compete globally after vigorous trials shows that I’m in a good shape, but I still need to improve to make sure I go for the top prize come the championships.” Koech who was inspired by former multiple world and Olympics champion over the distance, Ezekiel Kemboi, says he used to watch what the star athlete did in training, and developed interest in the race afterwards.

“At the previous championships, I didn’t care about watching other races but I couldn’t dare miss 3,000m steeplechase races. 

I enjoyed seeing them jumping the barriers and I just wanted to compete like them one day, a dream that is finally coming true,” added Koech.

The athlete has been training in Silibwet, Bomet County under the guidance of his coach John Kimetto.

During the last edition, Kenya bagged the silver medal through Leonard Bett in a race won by Takele Nigate from Ethiopia.

Ethiopia’s Getnet Wale settled for bronze. Koech is among the 45 athletes in Team Kenya currently in bubble training at Kasarani.

Kenya emerged the overall winner at the 2018 World Under-20 Championships held in Tampere, Finland with 11 medals; six gold, four silver and a bronze, and will be aiming to better this record.

Meanwhile World Under-20 Championships Local Organising Committee (LOC) has confirmed that the technical equipment and pitches to be used for the global event are almost complete.

The event will see up to 128 member federations grace the occasion from August 17-22 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani in Nairobi.

LOC Technical Director Ibrahim Hussein said they are waiting for the clearance of the equipment so they can inspect them and make sure they are in good shape.

“We are on the right track and days are moving fast before the championships start.

On the technical side, the equipment is already in Kenya and we hope they can be cleared as soon as possible so we can evaluate them to see if they are the right implements,” he said.

He added that the committee has managed to overcome the hiccups earlier faced in preparing the technical equipment, including the D-section at Kasarani.

“We are at an advanced stage and having hosted a championship before, we shall be able to deliver on time. What we lack now is the pole vault, but the contractor will be working on it and the installation of a hammer cage,” he said.

The call room has also undergone slight changes to cater for the introduction of athletes into the pitch during the global event.

“There is a tunnel just as you exit the call room and when the athletes enter the pitch from the room, there will be an introduction during the global event and the minor adjustments will cater for this,” said Hussein.

The stadium has been renovated and the seats decorated with Kenyan flag colours and some banners covering some areas with the words ‘we miss our fans’.

Cabinet Secretary for Sports Amina Mohamed has said that no fans will be allowed in the stadium during the global event.

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