Why former World champion Benjamin Limo quit AK job


Benjamin Limo wins the men's 5000m gold at Helsinki 2005. (PHOTO/IAAF)
Benjamin Limo wins the men's 5000m gold at Helsinki 2005. (PHOTO/IAAF)

In Summary

  • Persistent allegations of corruption levelled against Athletics Kenya (AK) in 2015 forced Benjamin Limo into stepping out of sports administration, the former World 5000m champion has said
  • Limo had been elected the Uasin Gishu AK Chairman but graft allegations against the national organisation's top brass as well as rising cases of doping prompted his rush exit from athletics management

Persistent allegations of corruption levelled against Athletics Kenya (AK) in 2015 forced Benjamin Limo into stepping out of sports administration, the former World 5000m champion has said.

Limo had been elected the Uasin Gishu AK Chairman but graft allegations against the national organisation’s top brass as well as rising cases of doping prompted his rush exit from athletics management.

“I had to resign. I could not put up with whatever was going on in the federation,” Limo, who won Kenya’s only gold medal at the 2005 World Athletics Championship in Helsinki, told Citizen Digital.

Considered an outsider in 2005 with only a silver medal to his name from Seville 1999, Limo outsprinted Seleshi Sihene of Ethiopia and Craig Motrram of Australia to save Kenya from the embarrassment of finishing a World Championship without gold.

Now a devoted farmer in the self-styled ‘home of champions’ Eldoret, he has channelled his efforts to talent mentorship.

“I have mentored many athletes, including former World Cross Country Championship Joseph Ebuya and his sister Alice Aprot. My main aim is to make sure the upcoming athletes are shown the direction before making mistakes,” he said.

He says his main effort is to inject knowledge, and push the upcoming to start with Cross Country.

“Cross Country is the granary of athletics; it builds athletes not only to run in the road races but also in track events.”

Born on 23rd August 1974, Limo has also been the Kenya’s Athletes’ Representative in the IAAF, a post that he held for two terms between 2007 and 2016.

The 31-year-old spoke strongly against doping, which he said was being fuelled by greed and a desperation for riches and advised upcoming athletes not to rush into road running lest they retire early.

“Am pressing for them to participate in Cross country, this is from where we guide them to track by selecting the suitable event for them, road races don’t pay for long,” he added.

After the 2005 win, Limo, a father of four, Tony Helsinki Kigen named after the City where his father won his only Gold, Marion Jepkemoi, Diana Jeruto and Sharon Jerotich, also ventured into road races, making his marathon debut in October 2008 but only managed 12th at the Amsterdam Marathon.

During the World Championships, in Helsinki in 2005, Kenya won seven medals, Limo’s gold (5,000m), two silver (Catherine Ndereba, marathon and Ezekiel Kemboi 3,000msc) and four bronze (Brimin Kipruto (3,000msc), William Liampoy (800m), Moses Mosop (10,000m) and Jeruto Kiptum (3,000msc).

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Story By Philip Muchiri
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