Top Kenyan Women In Athletics Revealed
Kenyan women are the most persevering in the planet and the fastest too, if the truth had to be tested before the whole world under any punishing conditions or terrain.
From the mighty concrete jungle of Daegu in South korea to the ancient comune of Rieti in Italy, the best of Kenyan women have left golden dust in their wake as they tear the finish line tapes to make history.
In February this year, the global sporting fraternity named Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot as the Sportswoman of the Year at the Laureus World Sports Awards. She was feted alongside other world sporting giants like Barcelona Football club, Novak Djokovic, Bobby Charlton and Oscar Pistorius.
During this year’s Olympics, Kenya is planning to continue her dominance in long and middle distance races by fielding a formidable team of athletes. Among them is Vivian who will lead a team of Kenyan female athletes to a medal haul they are all fondly reputed with.
The 2012 Olympics kick off on July 26th in London, where Kenya is planning to enter about 40 athletes in track and field events. Kenya will be energized by history which smiles back at her having come away from Beijing with six gold, four silver and four bronze.
Out of the 204 nations that were competing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Kenyan women won five medals of the 87 awarded in Athletics events. Women were eligible to compete in 23 events, making Kenyan women athletes rank among the most successful teams. Kenya emerged the third best country in Athletics that year with a total count of 14 medals despite only fielding athletes in long and middle distance running competitions.
Aside from the achievements in Olympics events, women athletes from Kenya have continued to feature prominently in IAAF World championships, marathons and world cross-country events. Some of the most outstanding female athletes in Kenya include the following:
Vivian Cheruiyot (28)
She hails from Keiyo District and specializes in long distance running. She is easily the most promising athlete stringing together an impressive set of results in which she has bagged gold medals in her last six major competitions.
She holds the current Kenyan Record in the 2000m, 5000m, 2 miles & 3000m indoors as well as being the all time third fastest woman in the 5000m.
Her most recent achievement was a gold medal in the World Championships in Daegu, South korea in the 10, 000M race.
She is the 2012 Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year. Her alluring career is complemented by her exuberance. Vivian connects to her fans at her website at www.viviancheruiyot.com
Pamela Jelimo (22)
She represents the future of women middle distance runners in Kenya, specializing in the 800M races. In the 2008 Olympics (her first ever Olympics) She became the first Kenyan woman to win an Olympic gold medal and also the first Kenyan to win the Golden League (now the IAAF Diamond League) Jackpot.
By winning the 2008 Hengelo Grand Prix 800M event, she set a new Junior World Record of 1:55.76. As the only athlete to win the same event at six consecutive Golden League meetings, she won the competition’s jackpot of $1,000,000 at the Memorial van Damme competition in Brussels.
During her short career, she has won two distinguishing awards; The IAAF Revelation of the Year Award and the 2008 Kenyan Sportswoman of the Year Award.
Despite waning between 2009 and 2011, where she produced catastrophic results in the world championships and the Prefontaine Classic, her fortunes have improved considerably during the 2012 season. Her most recent achievement is winning gold at the 2012 World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey.
Nancy Jebet Langat (30)
She is a Kenyan 1, 500M runner, an event in which she clinched the gold medal in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Her victory made her the second Kenyan woman to ever win an Olympic gold, behind compatriot Pamela Jelimo who made history the same year.
During the 2010 season she won the prestigious Diamond League tally for the 1500 meters. She emerged undefeated in all the races she ran against the best runners in the world. She is a member of the Kenya Air Force stationed at Moi Air Base, Nairobi.
Catherine Ndereba (39)
She is a veteran Marathon runner with a phenomenal career spanning 13 years. She won her first Marathon in the year 2000 during the Boston Marathon.
She went ahead to win her second Marathon in Chicago the same year to set a trend of consecutive winnings. In 2001, she set a new world record of 2:18:47 in Chicago where she won her fourth consecutive marathon. The record lasted a year before being broken.
Linet Maasai (22)
She is a long distance runner who competes in track events and cross- country. She is also a 2011 bronze winner in the 10, 000M track race and a silver medalist in the IAAF World Cross Country championships 2011.
She set a world junior record for the 10, 000M at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Since 2007, she has proven unbeatable in the World Cross Country Championships, winning four gold and four silver in all the 9 competitions she has participated in.
She is also among the few women athletes in Kenya with a personal website showcasing her career at www.linetmasai.com
Tegla Loroupe (39)
She runs long distance races both on the track and on road and is a veteran in the athletics fraternity. During her heyday, Loroupe broke the world records for 20, 25 and 30 kilometres and is the current holder. She is the global spokeswoman for peace, women’s rights, and education.
She is the first African woman to ever win the New York City Marathon, a history she made back in 1994. She did a double the year after when she beat fierce competition to emerge winner in the 1995 New York Marathon.
Loroupe has served as a Goodwill ambassador in several capacities starting in 2006 when she was made United Nations Ambassador of Sports by former UN secretary General Koffi Annan. She is also an International Sports Ambassador for the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) and for UNICEF.
She has established a school in Kapenguria under her own name, called the Tegla Loroupe Peace Academy which also doubles as an orphanage for children.
Amazing facts about athletics in Kenya
- Athletics is the world’s most universal and accessible sport. It bears this tag mainly because it does not require expensive training equipment to practice. Many poor Kenyans have broken free from poverty and disenfranchisement by succeeding in this sport.
- Kenya is a powerful nation in Athletics, but the talent is limited to long and middle distance running.
- The most accomplished athletes in Kenya incidentally come from districts like Keiyo, Marakwet and Nandi in the Great Rift Valley. Speculation is rife as to what geographic, lifestyle or genetic factors are responsible for this unusual phenomenon.
- Majority of Kenya’s Athletes are drawn from the Kalenjin tribal community.