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Lone ‘wolf’ Kipsiro eyes Olympics double

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NAIROBI, Kenya, May 8- The thought of Ugandan double Commonwealth champion, Moses Kipsiro, training along with elite Kenyan athletes conjures up the images of a wolf in the midst of a sheep herd.

This is the man who made history in Delhi two years ago where to much to the chagrin of Kenyans, he singlehandedly took the fight to and floored their revered runners giving them two bitter doses of the medicine they have dished out for decades when he ran away with the men 5000m and 10000m titles.

Regardless of the fact that Kenya went on to win a record haul of ten gold medals on the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the two that slipped away cast a dark cloud as the Ugandans chortled on doing one over their illustrious neighbours for days on end.

“That is one event I will never forget since after what they did to me at the Africa Championships in Nairobi earlier that year, it felt good to get my day and put my country on the map,” he recalled when Capital Sport caught up with him in Eldoret.

At first, he attempted to deflect the attention by telling this reporter in jest, using perfect Swahili, “No, I’m not Kipsiro, Kipsiro is there,” as he pointed in the direction of his compatriot standing metres away.

But his unique wedding ring and unmistakable features had already given him away and when his outstanding marital band was pointed out, he offered a cheeky smile and buckled down to state his objective for the forthcoming season.

Had his assertion been broadcast on a public address system at the Chepkoilel Campus grounds in Eldoret where he had just completed his intervals, the message would have surely jolted the slew of Kenyan elite runners who were going through their motions out of their senses.

Kipsiro is simply seeking a repeat of his Delhi heroics at the London Olympics!

“For me, I’m looking forward to this year. It’s an Olympics year and I have to concentrate on training. It will be a tough year but I’m hoping for the best since last year was not good for me,” Kipsiro exclusively told Capital Sport.

The Club Games 5000m and 10000m gold medallist who added the all Africa Games title in Maputo last year in the shorter race after missing the Daegu Worlds has relocated from his Buko training base in Uganda to Iten to escape the fanatical following he commands back at home.

“After Delhi, there were a lot of parties for me in Uganda so it took my time and I did not train and the time I got back to training, I pushed myself hard so I got injured. After the recovering from the injury, I got typhoid and that took most of my year,” Kipsiro disclosed his no show at Daegu Worlds after winning the Ugandan Trials last June.

“In Uganda, as the only athlete on the top people expect much and look forward from you but when I compare to Kenya, today it is someone, tomorrow it is someone else. They do not look only at one person; they look up to a bunch of athletes unlike home where it is only one person.

“That is very dangerous and very risky that is why I came here. Our place is good for training but we do not have a good track and when they see you running, they will bother you but here, I’m safe and I can concentrate on training.”

However, the Africa Championships 10000m silver winner is working through his Kipsiro Foundation to train more athletes to deflect all the attention from him.

“For now, I have 15 athletes whom we train together at home and there are a few of us here so that we can make our country have more athletes who can compete.”

Like any other athlete preparing to get a chance to participate on the biggest sporting event on the planet, the Osaka Worlds 5000m bronze winner is gearing to ensure his name is among the lights when the starting gun goes off on London on July 27.

“I take an Olympics year as a special year and a special championship. When they say you are an Olympics champion, it is the highest honour and this is what is motivating me since it comes once every four years.”

According to him, Uganda will continue lagging behind her neighbour in the sport due to lack of Government and corporate support for athletes toiling to make a name on the international map.

“They can write about companies coming to give us presents but I can tell you the truth, I’m here but I’m on my own, even the government does not know and there is nothing like support.

“One thing I see in Uganda is that they want you to do the best, expect much from you but to support you, there is nothing. I take athletics personal, like a business that is why I have to focus, I do not rely on support because if I know, I will concentrate, I will secure my future.”

He fired a warning to his distance track rivals ahead of the season that will climax with the Olympics.

“For sure, I’m looking for the shape and if I get it, I will look for the double and that is my aim but I have not decided fully,” he charged.

Apart from the Kenyans, Kipsiro has to contend with the likes of double Ethiopian Olympics titleholder, Kenenisa Bekele, British world 5000m champion, Mo Farah as well as Daegu and Maputo 10000m gold medallist, Ibrahim Jeilan (Ethiopia) among other potent distance track runners expected to illuminate London.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge and I’m focusing on my own shape, I’m not looking at anyone else. One thing I know about running, anyone can win and today it’s your day, tomorrow, someone else.”

The 11th finisher in the senior race at the Punta Umbria World Cross admits his training exile in Kenya has impacted on his family and business interests back at home.

“It’s really a hard thing for them but I have told my family exactly what I’m doing and what I’m looking forward to do.

“So they get to understand despite being concerned and when I tell them to take care of things they know the Mzee (home owner) is not around and the Mzee is not going for to maybe spend time with other women and when I achieve what I hope, we shall all celebrate.”

He spares time on some weekends to make the journey to Buko although this has been at a premium as he intensifies his training.

MAJOR HONOURS

World Championships

Bronze 2007 Osaka 5000 m

Continental Cup

Silver 2010 Split 3000 m
Silver 2010 Split 5000 m

All-Africa Games

Gold 2007 Algiers 5000 m
Gold 2011 Maputo 5000 m

Commonwealth Games

Gold 2010 Delhi 5000 m
Gold 2010 Delhi 10000 m

Africa Championships

Silver 2010 Nairobi 10000m

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