Last week (13th June), Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon got one of the most extraordinary receptions ever gotten by a Kenyan athlete when she returned to the country after setting two world records for the 1500m and 5000m distances. She ran 3:49.11 for her first world record in Florence, Italy, and followed it with the second world record of 14:05.20 in Paris within a week.
At Kenya’s state house, the president presented her with a cash award of KES 5,000,000 (about 36,000 USD) and a three-bedroomed house.
In the days that followed, she would get rewarded with a car for her father by one of the car dealing companies in the country called Rana Autoselection Ltd. The company rewarded her after she mentioned that she would use the funds she received from the state house for that purpose. She also later got a further KES 2,000,000 from the Safaricom Company.
It would be interesting to observe that the awards that followed the first award came out as a result of other companies seeing the general public’s reaction and the effect that the gesture to reward the Kenyan star would have on their image.
More companies and the general public in Kenya are beginning to understand what a world record takes to achieve and what it means.
While presenting the awards to Kipyegon, Kenya’s president William Ruto promised to do the same for any other athlete achieving the same feat.
The question remains: who will be the next athlete to be rewarded for another new world record this year?
Will it be Kelvin Kiptum, who just ran 2:01:25 to narrowly miss Eliud KIpchoge’s world record at the 2023 London Marathon in April? Kiptum has so far opted to skip the World Championships in Budapest to focus on a fast time.
Will it be Ruth Chepngetich, returning to run the Chicago Marathon, where she ran the second-fastest time in history, 2:14:18, last year?
Will Eliud Kipchoge push his world record time of 2:01:09 further and hopefully get to run an official sub-2hr marathon time finally?
Or, will Faith Kipyegon push her world record further in the 1500m or get the 800m world record as well?
As Kenyan companies wait eagerly for the next “Faith Kipyegon” to present awards and advance their marketing strategies, it is the perfect time for more world records to be broken this year.