No crowds as champion Kemboi returns
Posted Wednesday, August 8 2012 at 22:30
He returned home without the usual fanfare that greets athletics world beaters.
Yet earlier in the week, Olympics 3,000 metres steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi had won Kenya a gold, and treated fans all over the world to the now familiar Kemboi Dance.
Kemboi, who won his second Olympics title on Monday night, landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Wednesday morning, and proceeded to Eldoret International Airport, where his wife, Jane Jepchumba, was at hand to welcome him back home.
The two-time world champion in the water and barriers race then drove in his Toyota Land Cruiser he calls “Ultimate Warrior” to his home at the up-market Elgon View Estate as journalists trailed him.
Kemboi, who comes from Matira Village near Kapsowar, said he decided to come back early since he is lined up for competitions soon.
He was to leave for his rural home, where his kin had slaughtered a ram for him, following his success in London.
“I have a number of races to compete in. I have two Grand Prix meetings, two Diamond League contests, two road races and one half marathon run in Spain later next month. I needed to return early,” he said.
Kemboi said there was scramble for space within the training venue in London, with more than 10,000 athletes sharing out Pretoria Park and a stadium near the Athletes Village.
“The weather in London is not conducive to training. It is a combination of strong winds and rains,” he said.
The Kenya Police runner announced his plans to compete in 42-kilometre marathon after his victory at the Olympics Stadium.
Kemboi said he wanted to quit the steeplechase race while still on top as his bargaining chip in the sports market.
“I have been in 3,000 metres steeplechase for 12 years — and finished top in two, apart from the Beijing Olympics when I developed an illness.
“It’s good to quit on a high note just like Didier Drogba who left Chelsea FC for Shanghai Shenhua of China. I will settle first and then discuss it with my coach Moses Kiptanui on my plans to step up to marathon,” Kemboi, a fan of Chelsea FC said. He has a Chelsea sticker on the windscreen of his car.
Kemboi said the London duel was too competitive since some countries had prepared for the games right after Beijing Olympics in 2008.
“I feel quite well after the tough job in London. I have done my best. It is now upon Team Kenya members to bring more glory. I wish them well,” he said.
He went on: “Athletics dynamics is slowly changing. In steeplechase, for example, Moroccans and French are coming up strongly… even Ethiopia, where they took fourth place, have warned they are keen to wrest our dominance and it’s just a matter of time. We usually talk together.”