Strong enough to bear the children and get back to business
First off, a huge shout-out to Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot. You have to respect a woman who can come #StraightOuttaMaternityLeave and become World champion in the 10,000 metres, without so much as breaking a sweat. Okay so maybe she did break a sweat, but hey, a little perspiration is in order when you’re ruling the track.
Not to take anything away from Ezekiel Kemboi, Conseslus Kipruto, Brimin Kiprop Kipruto and Jairus Birech, the four men who came in first, second, third and forth in the steeplechase, but you’ve got to admire a woman who is “strong enough to bear the children, then get back to business”, because for real though, that girl is running the world – literally.
As a matter of fact, Kenyans are running the world. This week has been glorious for the united counties of the Republic of Kenya. We’ve rallied around our athletes, unified in our support of the sport and our countrymen and women. There’s nothing quite like a good contest to bring a fractured nation together. Even the battling Rutos must have laid down the weapons of their warfare to cheer on the citizens of their counties as they raced past finish lines making the whole country proud.
When we’re pushing back against an external force, our patriotism is unshakeable. Within our borders however, it is often a very different story.
We could learn a thing or two about nationalism from our elite athletes. Think about it: While many of us were contemplating the sour taste of Ugandan sugar, Nicholas Bett was on course to become the first Kenyan to win gold in a distance less than 800metres. I literally did a double take when he powered his way to pole position in the 400metres hurdles.
That kind of achievement only comes to those with single-minded focus. Those with the determination to go for gold despite all the obstacles thrown in the course of the ordinary mwananchi, as our leadership engages in perennial ‘politrickal’ Olympics. This guy was not sitting around chatting about 2017 – he was working hard. And it paid off.
Faith Chepng’etich came this close to toppling the Ethiopians from their 1,500-metre throne. Watching her, it was clear that the woman was giving it her all. She had her eyes on the prize and it is only a matter of time before she digs that gold up from the deep reserves of her perseverance.
And Rudisha? Talk about a majestic finish. King David made the ultimate royal comeback with his 800-metre performance, making quick work of a field full of worthy competitors.
As did the mighty Julius Yego who breached the 92-metre mark with his javelin earning Kenya a rare gold on the field. Then came Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi in the 3,000 metres steeplechase, with a hard-won win which proved that Kenyan women are not being left behind in the pursuit of greatness.
These athletes do what they do for millions in foreign currency, but they work hard for their money. They take pride in their craft, never losing their focus no matter what the cost. Crucially, nothing distracts them from their goals. Failure, for these elites, is not an option. And in the end, they do it all for the love of flag and country. They run for their country, not for their counties. And they do it in style.
So Mama Mtoto (Ms Vivian Cheruiyot), and every one of your equally courageous compatriots, both male and female, I salute you. #WhoRunsTheWorld? Kenyans!