Following in the footsteps of Wanjiru, Kipruto profile keeps rising


Amos Kipruto approaches the tape to win the 2016 Rome Marathon. PHOTO/Organisers/IAAF
Amos Kipruto approaches the tape to win the 2016 Rome Marathon. PHOTO/Organisers/IAAF
@gil_kiprotich

When the heart-breaking news of the death of Samuel Wanjiru broke in May 15, 2011, he might have been only 18 years old but Amos Kipruto had already developed a strong affection for the then Olympic Champion.

Wanjiru’s untimely death came at the time when he was cementing his status as one of the finest marathoners of his generation having won an Olympic gold in 2008 Games held in Beijing, China before clinching the London Marathon and Chicago Marathon titles a year later as well as retaining the Chicago title in 2010.

At the time, Kipruto was a form three student at Tulwet Secondary School in Uasin Gishu County and was still at the early stages of his career specializing in 5000m and 10000m in school competitions with the athlete revealing that he would sometimes skip school to train.

Born in Tulon Village, Kilibwoni division in Nandi County, Kipruto’s love story for Wanjiru is beyond the now following closely on the footsteps of his idol.

In a country with a long list of renowned athletes, then why would Kipruto strike an admiration for a man who was miles away from his own backyard?

“You know, when I was in High School, I could hear about Wanjiru a lot and that really motivated me as I started my career in athletics. Although I did not meet him until his last days. I can say he is an athlete that inspired me so much to be who I am currently,” said Kipruto.

The humble and soft-spoken athlete is slowly placing himself as a household name in marathon having been selected in Kenya’s marathon team for the upcoming Olympic Games alongside world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge and Boston Marathon champion Lawrence Cherono.

It will be the second time for Kipruto to don Kenyan colours having recently won a bronze medal at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, a prospect he says will motivate him further as he lines up in Sapporo on August 9 for his Olympics debut.

“For sure being called once again to represent my country is a big deal to me and I am humbled for that. I know I did my best last year and brought home bronze in Doha and now I am dreaming of achieving even more,” observed Kipruto.

Although Wanjiru is gone, Kipruto says the greatest gift he left for him is his current Italian coach Claudio Berardelli- a man he credits for his immense rise in the sport.

“I am honoured to have him (Berardelli) as my coach. He is a man who is more than a coach to me. He has raised me like his son and that’s why I am always grateful to have him as my mentor,” he said.

Kipruto has also attributed his success to his young family that comprises of his wife Janet Samoei and his five-year-old twin daughters Joy and Joyline.

“They (family) have been a source of inspiration to me. Honestly, I don’t know if they will get into it but I can’t rule out either,” Kipruto responded if his twins will follow on his footsteps.

Racing with Kipchoge

Kipruto will once again meet with Kipchoge at the Summer Games after the duo clashed during the 2018 Berlin Marathon where Kipchoge would win the race albeit in a new world record of 2:01:39 as Kipruto settled for silver.

As he gears up for his maiden appearance at the Games, Kipruto is relishing the opportunity of meeting with Kipchoge- currently regarded as the best marathoner in history.

“it is an honour to compete once again with Kipchoge because when you compete with the best, the best comes out of you,” he said.

As he trains at Kapsabet, Kipruto is dreaming of winning an Olympic gold as Wanjiru did 12 years ago in Beijing.

“Yes, I am waiting for that day but as the say action speaks louder than words. I am patient and wait for my time,” he said.

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Story By Gilbert Kiprotich
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