World 3,000m record holder Daniel Kipng’etich Komen has dared Ethiopia’s long distance runner Kenenisa Bekele to break his record at the indoor outing in France on Friday.
Bekele, who holds the world’s best time in 2,000m and two miles and boasts a double 5,000m and 10,000m world records, goes to the Pas de Calais, Lievin, bent on slapping a new mark on the Kenyan’s 12-year-old record. Komen set the 7:24.90 mark at the Budapest Indoors meeting in Hungary in February 1998.
And the Ethiopian icon, a multiple Olympic, world champion and six-time world cross country title holder, has announced he will make a stab at the World Indoor 3,000m record in his maiden race in France on Friday.
But Komen, who posted the world 3,000m outdoor title at 7:20.67 in 1996 said: “I will reward him [Bekele] with a five-acre parcel of prime land within Eldoret municipality should he break the record. And any foreign runner who makes it can take the prize and invest here in Eldoret.”
Komen, who started running while a student at Biwott High School in Keiyo South District, appreciates Bekele’s dream but said it will be no easy task for the Ethiopian.
“The record is hard to break. Let him try. I believe he is well prepared as the task would not be a walk in the park. But there was no need for him to announce it,” Komen told the Nation in Eldoret on Thursday.
“For me, I just attempted it while a young man, without telling the world. I prepared myself and broke it, and I will congratulate my friend Bekele if he does it.”
He added: “If a Kenyan breaks it [record], I will straight away take him to a showroom and buy him a brand new Mercedes Benz. The one I promised the other day looks old-fashioned.”
Komen, who is also Athletics Kenya Keiyo Branch chairman, pays glowing tribute to sprints runners Robert Kibet and Laban Rotich, his pacesetters in the Hungarian contest.
He wrestled the title away from another Ethiopian legend, Haile Gebrselassie and Bekele, who has a 7:30.51 personal best time, is set to walk a tight rope. “I covered the two-kilometre mark in exactly five minutes and wound up the final stretch in a time of 2:24.90.”