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Rhonex Kipruto will be the next big thing in Kenya

BARNABAS KORIRBy BARNABAS KORIR
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Kenya’s Rhonex Kipruto could be the next big thing if he plays his cards right.

This fast-rising star belongs to the league of Eliud Kipchoge and Geoffrey Kamworor if he can manage his athletics career well.

He is fresh from setting a new 10km road world record at the 10km Valencia Ibercaja in Spain and I guess this will inspire him to greater heights. However, as I said it should be one step at a time.

Kipruto, who is also the world 10,000m bronze medallist, clocked 26 minutes 24 seconds to shave 14 seconds off the yet-to-be-ratified mark set by Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei six weeks ago at a different course in the same city. The 20-year-old also bettered the 5km road world record by reaching the halfway mark of the World Athletics Gold Label event in 13:18.

He was even faster in the second half, clocking 13:06 but athletics’ governing body said in a statement that the latter effort would not be eligible for ratification.

But first things first and I would like to congratulate him for once again making the country proud alongside Sheila Chepkirui, who won the women’s race. Chepkirui’s time was initially reported as 29:42, which would have meant she bettered fellow Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei’s record set in Prague three years ago but her official time was later confirmed as 29:46, making her the second fastest woman ever.

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At this moment when we are scratching our heads to get the right combination and formula for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Kipruto’s performance is very inspiring and encouraging. Therefore, I hope Kipruto will fit in the equation that will strive to being back Kenya’s glory in 10,000m at the Olympics which the country last won in 1968 through Naftali Temu in Mexico.

Lately, most 10,000m runners are opting for the roads due to lack of races especially on the Grand Prix front and this is why such performances like Kipruto’s is making sense to us Kenyans.

However, all is not lost if we can organise ourselves as Africa and revive the long distances races. The reason why we continue to lose races is because we don’t have events of our own in Africa hence we are at the mercy of the organisers.

All the same, we are already working on the 10,000m squads and soon we will keep the athletics fraternity posted.