The new World Indoor Championships 800 metres champion, Pamela Jelimo, on Tuesday dedicated her victory to her family, whom she said formed the pillar of a her recovery from a career-threatening injury.
Jelimo, also the reigning Olympic 800m champion, said her victory in Istanbul was quite emotional yet amazing since it was not easy for an athlete who had just recovered from a stressful and depressing Achille’s strain to triumph.
The 22-year-old said that she would have fizzled to a “one-hit wonder” were it not for the endearing and unrelenting care, love, support and advice from her mother, Rhoda Mengitch, and her husband, Peter Kiprotich Murrey.
Jelimo said she had finally put the three years of pain behind her and will now focus on training harder with a view to defending her Olympic title in London in August.
A jovial Jelimo also praised her management team of, among others, manager Bob Verberk from Belgium, coach Thomas Englherd from the United States and trainer Daniel Sirma, a Kenyan, for a swift mental, physical and emotional recovery.
David versus Goliath
Jelimo spoke in the company of the new World Indoor 3,000m champion, Hellen Obiri, at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Tuesday at dawn upon their arrival from Turkey.
“I also want to thank Kenyans for not giving up on me and trusting in my potential,” said Jelimo as she received a bouquet of roses from her husband.
Jelimo’s mother and her cousin Margaret Jemutai welcome her home with traditional sour milk, known as mursik in Kalenjin.
Obiri, who was received by her husband, Tom Nyaudi Simeon, likened her victory over four-time champion Mesert Defar of Ethiopia to the biblical battle between David and Goliath.
She said it was beyond her wildest dream to prevail over Defar but that sticking to instructions from the coaches paid off.
“Defar has a superb kick. The trick was to stay behind her until the last 100 metres before I could kick, and it worked well. I also ran from the outside to avoid another fall since the Indoor track is narrow and slanted,” she said.
Obiri, 22, also declared her intentions to go for the Olympic Games 1,500m title currently held by fellow Kenyan Jebet Lagat.
Jelimo said it was so painful to only watch as her colleagues competed. She said: “It was more painful when I saw a Kenyan lose in a race that I am sure I would have won.”
She thanked God for giving her a second chance but hastened to add that the journey is still long: “I will take a few weeks break and then go back to training.”