Kenya finally won her first medals in the Tokyo Olympics yesterday, bagging a silver and a bronze in the women’s 5000 metres and men’s 3,000 metres steeplechase respectively.
The Tokyo Olympics has been one of major surprises and upsets, and Kenya has not been spared from the shocks.
In the men’s steeplechase, our Kenyan contingent could not maintain previous standards, but Benjamin Kigen still ran a great race to finish third in his debut at the Olympics.
It was the first time since 1984 that Kenya has not won gold in the 3,000 metres steeplechase, a race that the country has dominated for so long, that it was only a matter of which Kenyan would win the gold, rather than if we would.
Moroccan Soufiane el Bakkali was the man who shattered Kenya’s hearts and won gold in the event, in a time of 8 minutes and 8.90 seconds.
|1984 Los Angeles||Julius Korir|
|1988 Seoul||Julius Kariuki|
|1992 Barcelona||Mathew Birir|
|1996 Atlanta||Joseph Keter|
|2000 Sydney||Reuben Kosgey|
|2004 Athens||Ezekiel Kemboi|
|2008 Beijing||Brimin Kipruto|
|2012 London||Ezekiel Kemboi|
|2016 Rio de Janeiro||Conseslus Kipruto|
|2020 Tokyo||Soufiane El Bakkali (Morocco)|
In the next race, Hellen Obiri was up in the 5,000 metres women event, aiming to improve on the silver she won in Rio 2016 and bag her first Olympic gold.
Hellen is one of the premier women athletes in Kenya, with a world championship gold medal, a world championship bronze and a world cross country gold medal, as well as the Olympic silver medal in her locker.
She was up against, among others, dutch superstar Sifan Hassan, Ethiopian Tsegay Gudaf and fellow Kenyan runners Agnes Jebet and Lilian Kasait.
In a brilliant race that came to the final 200 metres, Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan delivered the final kick that none of her competitors could keep up with, winning gold in 14.36.79 minutes. Hellen Obiri won her second Olympic silver medal ahead of Ethiopian Tsegay Gudaf.
Kenya has also made history, with 100 metres runner Ferdinand Omurwa setting a national record of 10.00 seconds in the race’s semifinals, and coming within a whisker of qualifying for the final.
This is also Ferdinand’s personal best and hints at future success in this event at the African competitions and other Diamond League events for the Kenyan sprinter.
Fellow 100 metres runner Mark Otieno was barred from the event after his A sample tested positive for a banned substance by WADA, the official testing organization.
Kenya’s wait for gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics is ongoing. The men’s 400 metres, men and women’s 800 metres, men’s and women’s 1,500 metres, women’s 3,000 metres steeplechase, men’s 5,000 metres, women’s 10,000 metres, men’s and women’s marathons all have a strong Kenyan contingent who will be hoping to add to Kenya’s tally.
In addition, “YouTube athlete” Julius Yego takes part in the men’s javelin throw from tomorrow. He won a silver medal in Rio 2016. Check out the full kenyan schedule at the olympics here on the official olympics site.
There is a lot of hope in the 1,500 metres events for both men and women, events in which Kenya has world class athletes still competing.
Faith Kipyegon, Winny Jebet and Edinah Jebitok are taking part in the 1,500 metres semifinals, aiming to make it to the finals. Remember the name, Faith Kipyegon? She might be Kenya’s best hope for a gold medal in this event.
In the men’s 1,500 metres category, Timothy Cheruiyot, Abel Kipsang and Charles Cheboi are still in the hunt for medals in the semifinals after they all qualified for the semifinals earlier today.
The only man in history to ever finish a marathon in less than two hours, Eliud Kipchoge, will also take part in the men’s marathon as the closing event on Friday.
The women’s marathon is also headlined by Brigid Kosgei (women record holder in the marathon) as well as Peres Jepchirchir and Vivian Cheruiyot.
Today, the 5,000 metres men heats takes place at 7.56 pm Kenyan time. Daniel Simiu, Nicholas Kipkorir and Ken Masai will be taking part and aiming to proceed to the next round.
Tomorrow, Julius Yego will take part in the javelin competition at 10.35 am Kenyan time, while the women’s 1,500 metres semifinals take part from 7.00 pm.
The women’s 3,000 metres steeplechase finals will take place at 8.00 pm, with Beatrice Chepkoech and Hyvin Kiyeng participating.
Finally, 800 metres men’s final takes place at 9.05 pm, with Ferguson Cheruiyot and Emmanuel Kipkirui taking part.
Thus, there is a lot of hope for Kenya to bag a few more medals, maybe even two or three of them gold.
Let us keep watching the events on KTN and DStv, as we push our Kenyan athletes through a trying Olympics in which they are still giving their all for the Kenyan flag. We shall bring all the successes and results of these races here in due course.