Bomet County feted three athletes during Mashujaa Day celebrations held at Mogogosiek Baraza Park in Konoin Constituency on Sunday.
Governor Hillary Barchok awarded trophies to World champions Timothy Cheruiyot (1500m) and Beatrice Chepkoech (3000m steeplechase) as well as former 10000m athlete William Cheruiyot Sigei.
The Administration Police Service Bomet FC, which was recently promoted to the National Super League, was also feted in the ceremony that was attended by County Commissioner Geoffrey Omoding, Speaker of the County Assembly Shadrack Rotich and area Member of Parliament Brighton Yegon among other dignitaries.
“Every gold medallist will from now henceforth be awarded Sh200,000 cash prize by the County government of Bomet as a way of appreciating athletes and motivating the upcoming ones,” promised Barchok.
Bomet County has produced many international athletes who have lifted the Kenyan flag high in global and regional competitions.
“It was breath taking to watch Cheruiyot compete with such courage and romp to stardom in Doha, raising the Kenyan flag high and putting Bomet county in the world map,” said Barchok.
He added: "We celebrate Chepkoech who is the current world record holder in 3000m steeplechase having ran 8:44.32 in 2018. With that time, she became the first woman to break 8:50 and 8:45 barrier."
Sigei, who was feted in absentia, won the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in 1993 and 1994.
In 1994, Sigei set a new 10000m world record (26:52.23) in Oslo which is currently ranked 18th among the fastest times over the distance.
“Sigei will be remembered as the man who ran barefoot to beat World champion Paul Ngugi in what has remained untainted record of all times,” recounted Barchok.
Barchok said the county government is committed towards creating an enabling environment for upcoming athletes and those engaged in other disciplines to improve their skills.
“The county government is constructing a high altitude athletics training ground and sports academy at Tegat Training Centre so as to help in nurturing talents among youths,” said Barchok who revealed that the county government is in talks to take over Terek training camp in Konoin.
Barchok also urged sportsmen and women to invest wisely so that their impact is felt in society.
“It is important that the athletes use their earnings to create employment opportunities for youths in the county. They should make wise investment choices so that when they are no longer active in sports, they live comfortable lives and are able to provide for their families,” advised Barchok.
Barchok warned athletes to avoid doping which has killed the careers of many athletes.
“The doping menace must be fought by all stakeholders so as to avoid cases of athletes rising to stardom only to be shamed when it is discovered they had cheated their way into the world stage,” said Barchok.