Kiprotich out to upgrade African silver to World Cross gold

Ronald Kirui Kiprotich competes at the National Cross Country Championships on February 18, 2017 at Uhuru Gardens, ...
Ronald Kirui Kiprotich competes at the National Cross Country Championships on February 18, 2017 at Uhuru Gardens, Nairobi. He finished sixth to make the Kenya Under 20 team for the IAAF World Cross in Kampala, Uganda. PHOTO/

Ronald Kirui Kiprotich hopes to upgrade his African silver to World Cross gold in Kampala 2017 later this month as he competes in his last season as an Under 20 (junior) athlete.

Kirui, 18, made the Kenyan men 8km U20 team after finishing sixth at the February 18 National Championships in Nairobi and is on the second international outing for the country following a sixth finish over 10000m at the Bydgoszcz World Juniors last year.

“My body has responded well to the training unlike last year and I hope to celebrate my graduation to senior ranks with a world title.

“After Kampala, I shall focus on the London World Championships but first I need to secure myself a ticket in Team Kenya,” Kiprotich told Citizen Digital on phone.

The 18 year-old Kiprotich is eying to make the 10,000m team for London having run the distance last year in Bydgoszcz where he clocked 28:13.43 for sixth.

Kiprotich proved his versatility after clocking 61:43 to finish a credible fourth at the lucrative Airtel Delhi Half Marathon won by Olympics champion, Eliud Kipchoge.

“Since we reported to camp my body has had some good changes, we have done long runs and loading with speed work. I hope we shall do well in Uganda and we shall be able to bring medals,” he added.

National U20 cross champion Richard Yator, Meshack Kyuguti, Wesley Ladema, Edwin Kiplagat and Amos Kirui are Kiprotich’s teammates for the Kampala assignment with Kenya seeking to reclaim the title they lost to Ethiopia at the 2013 and 2015 editions of the World Cross in Bydgoszcz, Poland and Guiyang, China.

“Last year during the African Championships hosted in Yaoundé, Cameroon, I was position six at the Nationals. That did not worry me that much.

“It motivated me because I relied on raw talent. Hence in camp I focused on my training and I was able to win an individual silver medal and a team gold medal,” the confident Kiprotich underscored.

Kiprotich a first born in a family of six and identified 2016 Rio Olympics and a former two-time World Cross junior champion Faith Chepng’etich who just like him, hails from Keringet, Nakuru County as his inspiration.

“Faith works really hard and we try to emulate her good performance through and her training. I kept hearing about her and decided to try athletics after finishing my high school,” Kiprotich.

Making the Kenyan team in back to back years represents a rapid change of fortunes for the teenager who hails from a humble beginning.

“I started by following a group of athletes near my home area in Kuresoi. It was challenging for me especially when they had early morning training sessions, because at that time I lived with my parents and quite far from where they were.

“After sometime, I had to move out of my parent’s house to keep up with them since I’m was not attached to any coach. I try to exploit the knowledge of Team Kenya coaches to improve on my efficiency,” Kiprotich narrated.

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Story By Charity Wanja
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