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Budding Kericho athlete wins scholarship

A Kericho based athlete has managed to secure a fully funded scholarship at the University of Josai University, Japan following his outstanding performance at local events. Victor Kimutai, a seasoned athlete at Gariete Athletics Training Camp in Kericho, is expected to commence his studies this month.

In an interview with KNA at Gariete Athletics training camp in Kericho, Kimutai’s head coach Gabriel Kiptanui said the athlete has been offered the scholarship due to his outstanding performance in the sport.

He added that Kimutai, a seasoned athlete, was spotted during the Athletics Kenya (AK) pre- trials held at Nyayo stadium, Nairobi last year and was enrolled at the private university this year.

“Having only a two-year training stint at Gariete Athletics Training camp, his effort and commitments have borne fruit. In 2020 during the AK pre-trials to select candidates for the World Athletics Under 20 Championships, he won the 5,000 metres first trials having a personal best time of 13:42 and caught the eye of top athletics coaches and managers,” added Kiptanui.

He said he believes that Kimutai has the potential to become a top athlete at the international level in the coming years as he is currently the best upcoming male athlete at his training camp and at the same time a role model.

“I am sure of his hard work and discipline and with the two combinations, am positive he will motivate the international sporting fraternity to offer more scholarships to other seasoned Kericho athletes. He is one of the best upcoming athletes and I believe he will reach great heights. I am happy for Victor’s achievement that he has been offered the 30 months’ scholarship which will help him both in academics and in his running talent,” said Kiptanui.

Kiptanui is a renowned tactician who has produced a number of top track stars among them reigning world 3,000m steeplechase champion Beatrice Chepkoech.

Speaking to KNA, the 21-year-old athlete is expectant and passionate of his talent. “I used to compete in various races during primary and secondary school competitions; In 2018, I represented my secondary school St Peter’s Kiberesi in Kisii in the 10,000 metres run which were held in Embu’s Kigari Teachers Training college where I emerged position seven and in the same year, I represented my school in Tanzania Mwanza Half Marathon where I emerged position three,” revealed Kimutai.

He signed with Coach Gabriel Kiptanui in 2019 on completing his secondary school education where he scored a D plus grade in his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE), the year that he decided to take his talent seriously.

Kimutai narrates that he featured at the National Cross-Country Championships at Ngong Race Course held in February this year he emerged position 16 in the 10,000m competition.

Having come from a humble background in a family of six children where school fees and basic needs were a daily struggle, Kimutai plans to feature in international competitions.

“I really thank Coach Gabriel for being with me all these two years and it is in this training camp that I made my name.  Having come from a poor family where everything was a struggle and now that I have been offered a scholarship to undertake studies in farm management, I promise not to let down my family, my coach, my Gariete training camp athletics team and my university down. My first international race will be the Ekiden Half Marathon trials Japan which will be held in October 2021with the main race in December 2021. I hope to perform my best as I will be not only representing my university but also my country,” added Kimutai. 

By Sarah Njagi

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