Tanui eager to end Kenya’s 10000m Olympics drought


Paul Kipngetich Tanui on way to winning the 10,000m men final race during day two ...
Paul Kipngetich Tanui on way to winning the 10,000m men final race during day two of the National Trials for 2016 Rio Olympics Games held at Kipchoge Keino stadium in Eldoret, Kenya on June 31, 2016. Tanui won the race with a time of 27:46.15. Photo/Stafford Ondego/www.sportpicha.com

Paul Kipng’etich Tanui who hails from Nakuru County is yet to win gold in his nine year running career having represented his nation with distinction since he made the Amman, Jordan IAAF World Cross Country team in 2009 as a junior.

Having first served notice of his talents when he made before he was subsequently ejected from the 2008 Edinburgh World Cross squad, Tanui has since won Kenya three medals, senior silver at the 2011 World Cross in Punta Umbria and two bronze over 10000m at the 2013 Moscow and 2015 Beijing World Championships.

The Japan-based runner missed the London 2012 Summer Games Trials injured but on July 1 at the punishing elevation of Dr. Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret, the 25 year-old who has established himself as a podium athlete prevailed at the men 10000m Trials in a blistering 27:46.15 to realise his Olympics dream.

“I can’t say that I will wake up and win tomorrow. When I’m asleep I think of what I will do to improve in my training.

“I wake up early for hard training so that I can make sure that I will be ready for the Olympics, I know it’s hard, but with the team we have I believe that day one of us will win that gold that has eluded us for long,”  Tanui said.

Overcoming such a brutal race by keeping up on his feet as chaos spread around him with big names dropping out in the intensity of competition in Eldoret was another statement of his capability to steal a march on his more illustrious rivals should they falter.

 

Two-time World Half and World Cross champion, Geoffrey Kamworor and Bedan Karoki, the silver winner at the World Cross and World Half are ahead of the reserved athlete in the pecking order at home.

Everyone in the field will be out to stop British double Olympics champion, Mo Farah with the Ethiopian challenge and USA London 2012 silver winner, Galen Rupp among those given a better billing than the Kenyan Trial winner.

The preliminary squad also features Charles Mneria Yosei, a late entry for the Trials who went on to finish second to Tanui with selectors due to decide who will travel to Rio between the latter and Karoki who is still recovering from an Achilles injury.

Kenya last won the men 25-lap Olympics gold medal in 1968 through Naftali Temu, and Tanui who led in the national trials in Eldoret for most part of the race, is working hard with his teammates to break the drought.

“If we continue the same way in the few remaining days, I believe this is the team that is going for gold in Rio,” he asserted.

Tanui began racing at Keroka Technical Training Institute in Kisii County, where he was enrolled by his peasant farming family who could not afford to take him to secondary school after completing his formative education at Mau Primary School.

In 2008, Tanui was a fresh mechanical engineering and computer packages student at Keroka when he clocked 25:57.3 at the Trials for the Edinburgh World Cross for sixth and was named in the provisional junior men 8km squad by Athletics Kenya.

However, a fortnight into residential training, his eagerness for a first foreign trip was cruelly dashed when he was expunged from the team, due to his inability to run with shoes, when AK named the final team.

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Story By Mutwiri Mutuota
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