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Scared Wanjiru pleads for security

Wednesday November 4 2009

By CHRIS MUSUMBA

Olympic, Chicago and London Marathon champion Samuel Wanjiru is considering relocating to Japan because he fears for his security, especially at his rural home in Nyahururu, which has been raided twice by thugs.

On return from New York on Tuesday night, where he was crowned the new World Marathon Majors champion, fetching a prize pack worth Sh38 million ($500,000), Wanjiru asked the government to improve security.

“What is the government doing to honour sportsmen in this country? It is very little. But that is maybe why some of them are sneaking out to Qatar. I have a big name in Japan and if I go there I will be comfortable,” he said.

It was the first time that Wanjiru was accorded a hero’s welcome upon his arrival, having won four of the five marathons he has run in a short three-year span.

Wanjiru recently added the Chicago marathon jewel to his illustrious crown when he won in 2:05:41.

The time was one second under the previous course record and thus earned him an additional Sh7.6 million ($100,000) alongside the Sh5.7 million ($75,000) prize fee. His appearance fee was estimated at Sh19 million ($250,000).

Wanjiru and Irina Mikitenko of Germany won the 2008-2009 World Marathon Majors series. Wanjiru collected 90 points over the two-year series, winning at the 2008 Olympics, as well as in London and Chicago in 2009. He was also a runner-up in London in 2008.

“This is inspirational and a morale booster for me and other athletes. I have never been received like this,” he said.

In the WMM series, the world’s top runners score points for winning and top placings at the five events - London, Boston, Berlin, Chicago and New York.

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