As we approach the end of the year 2015, I’m not sure how I want to remember the just-ended athletics season.
I’m actually confused and a lot of things come to mind when I reflect back on the season.
I don’t know whether to remember that moment when Kenya left Jamaica and USA trailing them as they topped the table in the World Championships in Athletics in Beijing with 16 medals - seven gold, six silver and three bronze or that moment when Geoffrey Kamworor and Agnes Tirop made us proud by winning the world cross country titles in senior men and women’s categories.
Of course that moment when Julius Yego took gold in javelin in Beijing is still very fresh on my mind. Yego did not only become the first Kenyan to win the world title after throwing 92.72m but the throw put him third over in the world’s all-time best.
But again the doping events keep on flashing in my mind as if it happened just yesterday. First in the season was Rita Jeptoo, then followed a number of unknown athletes and before I could comprehend what was happening, our very own sprinters Joyce Sakari and Francisca Koki were making the headlines for all the wrong reasons in Beijing. The two especially spoilt the party for the country after making history.
And before the dust could settle, our very top officials Isaiah Kiplagat (president), David Okeyo (vice chairman) and Joseph Kinyua (treasurer) were on the firing line over allegations of corruption and claims of doping cover-up.
The three have since been suspended amid investigation into their cases. But just as we thought we were on the way to recovery, two-time world cross country champion Emily Chebet was in another group of seven athletes banned for between two and four years for various doping crimes.
There is always light after darkness and I can only hope the country will soon be back and strong ahead of the Rio Olympics.
But even as this was happening, there were a few bright spots that make us proud. Ezekiel Kemboi’s fourth world 3,000m steeplechase title was something to be proud of.
Asbel Kiprop was equally up to the challenge, winning his third world title and missing the world 1,500m record held by Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj by a whisker. He also won the Diamond League title!
Vivian Cheruiyot’s return in the 10,000m also gave Ethiopians something to ponder over. Vivian not only win the world 10,000m title but also set the stage for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Hyvin Kiyeng dominated women’s 3,000m, winning the world title and three events in the Diamond League series. Despite taking bronze at the big stage, Eunice Sum was equally dominant in the 800m. How I wish and pray that 2016 remains stainless.