Egesa FM to throw Hellen Obiri a homecoming like no other


Kenya's Hellen Onsando Obiri (R, silver medal) and Kenya's Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot (gold medal) pose ...
Kenya's Hellen Onsando Obiri (R, silver medal) and Kenya's Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot (gold medal) pose during the podium ceremony for the Women's 5000m during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 19, 2016. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Royal Media Services’ Egesa FM, will throw Rio 2016 Olympics women 5000m silver medallist, Hellen Obiri Onsando, a party like no other on Sunday in her rural home in Nyangusu, Bobasi Constituency, Kisii County in a grand homecoming for the returning star.

It will be the first fete of its kind in a region that has produced its fair share of distance running champions including Kenya’s first Olympics gold winner, Naftali Temu who won the men 10000m top medal at the 1968 Games in Mexico.

Obiri, 26, who also serves as a Kenya Defence Forces officer, followed compatriot, Vivian Cheruiyot, home in the first ever 1-2 during the finals of the women 5000m at the Olympics in Rio where they mowed feared Ethiopian 10000m record holder, Almaz Ayana, in the closing laps.

In 2012, she won the women 3000m gold at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul before winning silver two years later Sopot, Poland in her defence.

She won her first outdoor medal when she took bronze in 1500m at the 2013 IAAF World Championships besides winning the continental title at the distance at the 2014 edition in Marrakech, Morocco.

“We really want our people to feel and share the Rio celebrations and Hellen’s victory and inspire other upcoming athletes to know that their talent can elevate them to scale the heights,” Egesa FM deputy Head of Radio, James Gichana, said on Wednesday.

“We are likely to partner with the Kisii County Government who have shown their intention to be part of this colourful event and we are also inviting all kind of leaders; both political and religious since this will be a thanks giving ceremony we won’t discourage anyone from joining us,” the station boss added.

Egesa has wide listener-ship in the region with management deciding to honour the lady who has elevated its catchment region’s stature in the distance running global map after a number of lean years.

Gichana did not disclose the gifts in store for Obiri with regional Athletics Kenya (AK) boss, Peter Angwenyi, hailing the gesture as the kind of motivation aspiring runners from the area need to inspire the next generation of champions.

“We are impressed by Royal Media Services and particularly Egesa FM for this noble activity and we therefore, call all the athletes and the general public to turn in large numbers and share this thanks giving occasion,” AK South Nyanza chairman and former national Public Relations Officer, Peter Angwenyi, who was also Team Kenya media liaison in Rio 2016 underscored.

Other renowned athletes from the region include the pioneering distance running great, Nyantika Maiyoro, 1972 Olympics 4x400m relay champions; Charles Asati and Hezekiah  Nyamao Monyoro, Athens 2004 women 5000m silver medallist, Isabella Ochichi as well as sprinters, Bonface Mweresa and Mike  Mokamba among others.

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Story By Dennis Ohuru
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