Japan-based Paul Kipng’etich Tanui believes Kenya has an excellent chance of striking gold in the 10,000 metres at the Rio Olympic Games.
It’s a bizarre statistic that since Naftali Temu’s triumph in 1968, the country has never won gold in 10,000m at the Olympics despite producing some of the world’s finest athletes over the distance including Yobes Ondieki, the first man to run the race in under 27 minutes.
Temu’s victory was also Kenya’s first gold medal in the history of the Olympics.
But Tanui is confident this is about to change after scorching rivals at the national trials in Eldoret just over a week ago to win in his speciality and earn an automatic qualification berth for Rio.
Tanui is attached to the Kyudenko Company in Fukuoka, Japan, and is eager to move out of the bronze medal bracket and bag the elusive gold at the Rio Olympic Stadium on the evening of August 13.
“I was very happy to get a slot to represent my country at the Olympic Games next month. I want to finalise my training so that I can get out of the bronze medal bracket and win a gold medal,” said Tanui, a two-time world championships bronze medallist (Moscow 2013 and Beijing 2015), after a training session at the University of Eldoret.
The biggest threat for Tanui and Team Kenya will be double world champion and Olympic title holder Mo Farah of Great Britain who frequently trains in Iten, Elgeyo-Marakwet County.
“I’m really focusing on my training so that we can work as a team to bring medals home,” said Tanui.
“Mo Farah is the danger man but we can beat him,” Tanu said, “just the way he was beaten during the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff where he finished third behind Geoffrey Kamworor and Bedan Karoki.”
Tanui predicted that Kenyans will celebrate their victory next month.
Others, who will be teaming up with Tanui are Geoffrey Kamworor and the latest kid on the block Charles Yose who, like Tanui, is based in Japan.