Chepng'etich, Kirui given heroic welcome

Friday September 22 2017

World Marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui (right) and 1,500m women's Faith Chepng’etich in a jovial moment during their joint celebration and homecoming ceremony in Mwahe in Kuresoi North ,Nakuru County on September 22, 2017. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |

World Marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui (right) and 1,500m women's Faith Chepng’etich in a jovial mood during their joint celebration and homecoming ceremony in Mwahe in Kuresoi North ,Nakuru County on September 22, 2017. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By REITZ MUREITHI
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The small village of Keringet on Friday came alive when hundreds of residents came together to receive World Marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui and 1,500m champion Faith Chepng'etich during their homecoming celebrations in Kuresoi South, Nakuru County.

Kirui won gold at last month's World Championship in London, while Kipyegon secured gold to add to her Olympic title.

World 1500m gold medallist Faith Chepng'etich Kipyegon (right) and World Marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui (left) join a jig with the Master of Ceremony during their homecoming party held at Mwahe village, Kuresoi North in Nakuru County on September 22, 2017. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

World 1500m gold medallist Faith Chepng'etich Kipyegon (right) and World Marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui (left) join a jig with the Master of Ceremony during their homecoming party held at Mwahe village, Kuresoi North in Nakuru County on September 22, 2017. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

While congratulating the two athletes, Nakuru County Governor Mr Lee Kinyanjui reiterated his plan to build an ultra modern athletics camp in Keringet town that will boost upcoming athletes.

Mr Kinyanjui said the camp will have hostels and experienced coaches to aid young talent.

“Previously, Kenyan athletes were coming from Uasin Gishu county, but with a facility like this, Nakuru county will become the new home of champions, “he said.

He said the county was planning on starting an annual Marathon with an aim of giving exposure to junior athletes.

Nakuru County Governor Lee Kinyanjui (left) shares a joke with World 1500m gold medallist Faith Chepng'etich Kipyegon (right) during the homecoming party held in honour of Chepng'etich and World Marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui at Mwahe village, Kuresoi North in Nakuru County on September 22, 2017. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Nakuru County Governor Lee Kinyanjui (left) shares a joke with World 1500m gold medallist Faith Chepng'etich Kipyegon (right) during the homecoming party held in honour of Chepng'etich and World Marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui at Mwahe village, Kuresoi North in Nakuru County on September 22, 2017. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

He noted the importance of athletes acquiring investment and financial management skills, adding that most of them lack the knowledge,

Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter, who was also present, encouraged young people to participate in athletics and follow in the steps of those before them.

“Your governor who is present today will provide whatever you need to kick start your athletics career,” noted Mr Keter.

In an interview with Nation, Faith Kipyegon attributed her win to God and the support she got from her coach.

“I was nervous before that race because I had strong competitors but I thank God because he was with me,” said a jubilant Kipyegon.

She said she looked up to Vivian Cheruiyot and was happy that she too was been able to fly the Kenyan flag high.

World 1500m gold medallist Faith Chepng'etich Kipyegon during the homecoming party held in her honour and World Marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui at Mwahe village, Kuresoi North in Nakuru County on September 22, 2017. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

World 1500m gold medallist Faith Chepng'etich Kipyegon during the homecoming party held in her honour and World Marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui at Mwahe village, Kuresoi North in Nakuru County on September 22, 2017. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Geoffrey Kirui said the thorough training he went through and morale given by other athletes contributed to his success in London.

“I could not have done this by myself and I am grateful to the other athletes I trained with and the coaches who were with us, ”he said.

However, the Boston Marathon champion said his greatest challenge was finding a suitable training ground in Keringet, as they had to depend on school fields which at times were occupied by students.

“My advice to upcoming athletes is to listen to your coach and adhere to the training, then success will follow,” he said.

The colourful celebration was graced by officials from Athletics Kenya and various junior athletes who are in camp.