The curtain has closed on the Pandemic Olympics with the men’s marathon—the final event held—being won by the king of road race Eliud Kipchoge.
Kenya ended the three-week sports bonanza with ten medals—four gold, four silver and two bronze—down from 13 medals (six gold) that Team Kenya won five years ago at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
All Kenya’s medals came from the track events, with the country emerging the best team in Africa at the Olympics and 19th globally ahead of South Africa, Ethiopia, Jamaica, Uganda and Nigeria.
|Emmanuel Kipkirui||800 metres||Gold|
|Eliud Kipchoge||Men’s marathon||Gold|
|Faith Kipyegon||Women’s 1,500 metres||Gold|
|Peres Jepchirchir||Women’s marathon||Gold|
|Timothy Cheruiyot||Men’s 1,500 metres||Silver|
|Ferguson Rotich||Men’s 800 metres||Silver|
|Hellen Obiri||Women’s 5,000 metres||Silver|
|Brigid Kosgei||Women’s marathon||silver|
|Benjamin Kigen||Men’s 3,000 metres steeplechase||Bronze|
|Hyvin Kiyeng||Women’s 3,000 metres steeplechase||bronze|
I have three highlights from the global sports meet: firstly, the barnstorming race run by Kenyan Superstar Faith Kipyegon.
Faith, who is one of the very few world class female athletes to come back from childbirth, ran a brilliant race, shattering a thirty plus year record in the 1,500 metres, condemning Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan to third, and showing why she is the best female athlete in Kenya at the moment. It was a fantastic race that had me screaming at my television.
Secondly, the women’s marathon, in which Kenya clinched a very rare 1-2 with Peres Jepchirchir clinching gold and Brigid Kosgei bagging sliver.
Read also: For Olympic-bound Kipchoge, marathon is life
The two ladies had an awesome teamwork from gun to tape, sharing water and energy drinks, and strategizing on how to dominate the 42km race. It was heartwarming to see.
Thirdly, Eliud Kipchoge. What a man; what a race! He defended the marathon he first won in Rio 2016 in incredible fashion, dominating the field and finishing over a minute ahead of his closest rivals.
He was in a class of his own. In sporting greatness, there are always athletes who are so far ahead of their competition, that it seems unfair, and they look almost superhuman in comparison. The GOAT list includes golfer Tiger Woods in his prime, soccer star Lionel Messi, tennis queen Serena Williams, Tom Brady and one and only sprint legend Usain Bolt.
Eliud Kipchoge is in this echelon of sporting greats, and currently deserves the title of the greatest sportsman alive. We are privileged to see him break records and inspire millions to achieve their wildest dreams.
The lowlights from a personal perspective of the Tokyo Olympics are the end of a 37 years streak of gold medals in the men’s 3,000 metres steeplechase, which was ended by Moroccan Soufiane El Bakkali.
The men’s rugby team losing three group games in the Olympics was also very disheartening, and the performance of the “hit squad” boxing team was dispiriting to say the least.
The Kenyan female indoors volleyball team was colorless, losing all matches. We cannot rely on a few track events forever, as our neighbours Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia keep pushing us, and countries such as USA, Japan and China pour money into research and development in these events, as well as naturalizing our Kenyan born citizens to race for them.
All in all, it was a great three weeks of binging on sports, as we strive to move into a post Covid normal, the Olympics provided great moments and a welcome distraction to rising Covid cases, low vaccination numbers and economic woes in the country.
We salute the 85 Kenyans who wore Team Kenya kit with pride, and we hope they maintain such high standards in their future endeavors.
With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics—held in 2021 over—sports fans and Olympians look forward to Paris city hosting the Games next, exactly 100 years after last organizing the Olympics in 1924.