The government and Athletics Kenya led the world in celebrating World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge after he was named the United Nations Personality of the Year in Kenya.
Kipchoge, who set a new world marathon record when he retained his Berlin Marathon title in 2 hours, 01 minutes and 39 seconds, was honoured by the UN for exhibiting extraordinary accomplishment that involves initiative, integrity and courage.
Not only did Kipchoge, who is the Olympic marathon champion, exhibit these qualities when breaking the World record but also for his work on combating HIV/AIDS among the youth.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma said that she had no doubt that Kipchoge would take advantage of the opportunity to showcase the Kenyan values that are indispensable to the kind of success that he now enjoyed.
AK president Jackson Tuwei said that Kipchoge’s achievements would no doubt inspire many youth as he challenged the 2003 World 5,000m champion to be go out and tell the youth of the importance of being honest in everything they do.
“I congratulate you, Eliud Kipchoge, on this great achievement,” said Juma.
“Kipchoge has risen through the ranks, winning the world and Olympic titles on to breaking the world record. You have been the leading voice on the fight to eradicate HIV/Aids,” said Tuwei. “We congratulate you for showing a good example both in sports and outside and we are proud of your achievements.”
Juma and Tuwei were at the United Nations offices in Gigiri, Nairobi to witness Kipchoge being feted, a ceremony that coincided with the United Nations’ 73rd Anniversary celebrations.
Also present was the youthful Nandi County Governor Stephen Sang.
Kipchoge expressed his gratitude for the award as he warned the youth against the temptation of taking short cuts for the big break that will set them on the path to fame and fortune.
“It takes extreme effort and many years to reduce one’s time even by five seconds when running. Lasting achievements are based on small increments in doing the right thing,” said Kipchoge while receiving the award. “No human is limited. Everything is possible. Believe in yourself and all boundaries will disappear.”
Social media was also abuzz with Kipchoge’s last achievement, only a day after he was named among three Kenyan athletes in the short list for the 2018 Male World Athlete of the Year.
Kipchoge was nominated alongside 2018 Diamond League winners Timothy Cheruiyot (1,500m) and Emmanuel Korir (800m).
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) also paid tribute to Kipchoge: “We are inspired by your service to humanity at the grassroots level. Your discipline, dedication, focus and perseverance are precursors to excellence. Values which our young people can emulate.”
United Nations Kenya also commended Kipchoge saying that by tracing the achievements, with his focused pursuit of dreams, the youth will look into the future and decide that better times are within their grasp.
“This is the kind of inspirational model that today's youth require,” said the statement from UN-K.
“Fantastic to meet the incredible Eliud Kipchoge at the #UNDay celebrations in Nairobi today! What an inspiration!” said Head of UN Environment Erik Solheim on his twitter handle.