A dozen fans of Kenya’s Japan-based 10,000 metres runner, Paul Tanui, will cross into South Korea on a ferry to cheer their man at the World Championships in Athletics that start in Daegu next weekend.
Tanui’s manager, Stephen Mayaka, said the fans will take the ferry in Fukuoka, Japan, and disembark in Busan, South Korea, from where they will take a rented bus to the city of Daegu.
Tanui was named in the Kenyan team to the World Championships after Wilson Kiprop withdrew with injury.
“Fukuoka is just near South Korea and that’s why they will board the ferry to cross over to Busan,” Mayaka said on Thursday from Japan.
The team of fans includes the coaching staff of Kyudenko Company, where Tanui works, and his fellow team-mates.
“The company (Kyudenko) is very happy that he is representing Kenya and they hope that at next year’s Olympics he can join the Kenya team again,” Mayaka said.
In Nairobi, the World Cross Country Championships senior men’s 12-kilometre silver medallist Tanui described his inclusion in the 10,000m team as “a dream come true.”
Athletics Kenya on Tuesday called up the 20-year-old, who was initially in the All Africa Games team, to replace the injured Kiprop.
“My focus was on the road to Maputo (for the All Africa Games) but now I’m headed to Daegu,” said Mutai.
“Nothing can express my gratitude to the faith the coaches have in me, and the onus is on my shoulders to repay.”
“This is like a dream come true and frankly, I thank God for all his favours,” said Tanui.
This is the second time Tanui is being called up to the national athletics team as a late replacement.
He was drafted into the team for this year’s World Cross Country Championships in Spain despite falling out of the top six at the trials.
Controversy could have followed his inclusion but Tanui proved critics wrong when he finished second, a feat that enabled Kenya retain the overall team title in Punta Umbria, Spain.
Tanui wound up fifth during the national trials for the Daegu Worlds but Kiprop’s injury was a blessing in disguise for him.