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Pomp, Colour as Olympic champions’ jet back

Olympic marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir and her male counterpart Amos Kipruto returned home to a warm welcome at Eldoret International Airport.

Gold medalist Peres Jepchirchir is served traditional milk by a relative at the airport shortly after jetting back into the country from Tokyo Olympics. Photo by Lorna Jepkemboi

At hand to receive the athletes were Uasin Gishu Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno and his Nandi Counterpart Dr Yulita Mitei.

The duo was treated to some traditional dance, received gourds of milk, before driving in to town on an open-top bus to greet locals.

Along the route, Kenyans cheered and waved national flags to celebrate the gold medalists’ achievements which brought the Country to a limelight.

Dr. Yulita said all the four gold medals that Kenyans secured came from the North Rift Counties.

“We are proud of our team. We will continue producing champions in our region because we pride ourselves not only as the source of champions but we are the home and the City of champions,” she said

She said Nandi County government is committed to supporting various sports activities as well as assisting young upcoming athletes to nurture their talents.

On his part, Chemno said the region was proud of the athlete for not only flying Kenya’s flag high but the county’s too.

“We are very proud of Jepchirchir for bringing gold medal to our region because it will be a big motivation to many upcoming athletes. You kept our flag up,” he said

Jepchirchir is a female professional long distance runner who competes mainly in road running competitions.  She won the gold medalist at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in 2016 and the gold medalist again at the championship in 2020.

On why Team Kenya, top in Africa and 19th globally with four golds, with four silver and two bronze medals were not accorded warm reception, the gold medalist said they were happy on how they were received with Maasai lessos.

“Let us not blame each other instead we should focus on how to improve in future. Yes, we were received with Maasai lessos which is our culture and we are happy with that,” she said adding that team work, prayer and family support enabled her to win.

By Linet Wafula

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