The world’s fastest man in 10,000 metres this season, Wilson Kiprop, wants to honour his late mother and the Kenyans by delivering the elusive Olympic title next month in London next.
Kiprop, who said circumstances and environment tossed him to athletics, said he looks forward to paying tribute to his mother, Lina Kosgei, who passed away a decade ago and his family for instilling in him the sense of discipline and never-say-die spirit.
“It goes without saying that Kenyans have missed that medal and four decades is quite a long time considering I wasn’t born yet. I am sure they will toast to that victory and the late Taftali Temu will move in his grave,” said the eloquent Kiprop with a telling laughter.
Wants to emulate Temu
Born in Soi, Uasin Gishu on July 14, 1987, Kiprop now wants to emulate Temu, who is the last Kenyan to have won the 10,000m during the 1968 Mexico City Summer Games.
For Kiprop, the first born in a family of seven, life was a bit hard for him when growing up in Soi since they had many problems with her mother being the sole bread winner in the family.
“My mother could not even raise school fees,” said Kiprop, who went to Kaptebengwet Primary School before joining its secondary school section where he was forced out in 2005 owing to lack of school fees.
What drew Kiprop closer to athletics is the fact that the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games 400m bronze medallist Samson Kitur was able to develop his homestead with money drawn athletics yet Kenya wasn’t a force in sprints.
Kitur also won bronze in 400m and silver in 4x400m at the 1993 Stuttgart Worlds besides gold at the 1991 and 1995 All Africa Games.
Kings of long distance running
“All I knew that time was that Kenyans were kings in the long distance races but it struck me that someone in 400m can bring such development at his home,” said Kiprop. “I requested my mother to purchase for me some running shorts and she obliged.”
Kiprop would embrace athletics in primary school with 10,000m being his favourite owing to the fact that he had mastered the act of endurance with home being far from where he was schooling.
After his mother passed away, Kiprop become the sole bread winner of the his family and the 25-year-old who has waylaid all the odds to win the World Half Marathon title and the Africa 10,000m in 2010 has lived to his status.
Kiprop, who withdrew from Team Kenya for the 2011 World Championships with an injury, is proud to keep his five siblings in school.
Nancy has joined the Rift Valley Training Institute, Dominic cleared form four last year and is waiting to join college, Sheila is sitting her form four examination this year in Eldoret while Rogers and Dennis are in school.
“I never thought athletics can change my life this way but I thank God for everything. I am sure my mother, who is happy wherever she is would like me to win that coveted Olympic title for Kenya,” said Kiprop.
Come up with secret weapon
He said training together as a team with compatriots Moses Masai and Bedan Karoki has helped cement their bond and that they have come up with a secret weapon that will down their rivals, especially Ethiopians.
Kiprop clocked 27:01.98, the fastest 10,000m time on US soil when he won the Kenyan trials at Prefontaine Classic in Eugene on June 2 ahead of Karoki and Moses Masai.