It was a historic moment for Kenya at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing yesterday when athletes Ezekiel Kemboi and Vivian Cheruiyot won two gold medals in 40 minutes.
Ezekiel Kemboi won the final of the men’s 3,000 metres steeplechase (8:11.28) shortly after Cheruiyot, popularly referred to as the “Pocket Rocket”, used her famed finishing kick to outlast Ethiopia’s Gelete Burka to win back the 25-lap title she last held at the 2011 edition in Daegu in 31:41.31.
Kenyans watched in pride as Kemboi led a Kenyan 1-2-3-4, giving the nation a clean sweep of the medals for the third time ever in this event, a feat only achieved twice before – by the USA in the 2005 men’s 200m and Ethiopia in the women’s 5000m the same year – in IAAF World Championships history.
Kemboi made history by becoming the first athlete to win four consecutive world 3,000m steeplechase titles.
“I am dedicating this medal to three people; first is (musician) Jaguar (Charles Njagua) for the work he is doing of saving the youth from the scourge of drugs, the other person is Mike Sonko who is my friend and he called me yesterday (Sunday) urging me to go for the gold and third is Mrs Ida Odinga for her (65th) birthday,”
“I wanted to win this race to make history. I have done it and I am very happy,” Kemboi said.
In a repeat of the 2013 Moscow World Championship, Conseslus Kipruto came second after Kemboi in 2:12.38 while Brimin Kipruto (8:12.54), got bronze as Diamond League champion Jairus Birech (8:12.62) closed the top four vanguard for Kenya in the historic spectacle.
Geoffrey Kamworor and Paul Tanui won silver and bronze for Kenya in the men’s 10,000m on the opening day of the Championships on Saturday.