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First Lady salutes Olympic team

NAIROBI, August 19 – First Lady Lucy Kibaki has commended Kenyan women athletes for their outstanding performance in the ongoing Beijing Olympic Games.

In a personal message, the First Lady said Pamela Jelimo and Janeth Jepkosgei who on Monday won Gold and Silver medals respectively made Kenyans very proud.

She said: “Congratulations on your wonderful win. I watched you run and I jumped up with joy. I saw our country getting back to its rightful place of pride, fame and dignity. Girls you made me very proud, you have made all the Kenyan girls, women and children proud of you."

She urged Kenyan youth to emulate the athletes and take sports seriously.

The First Lady noted that for the first time in Kenya’s history a woman athlete had won a gold medal and it was more remarkable that Jelimo had taken first place in the very competitive 800 metres, while Jepkosgei won silver.

"At 18 years, Jelimo showed that she had a truly competitive spirit, by outpacing the more experienced athletes to give Kenya her first gold medal in this year’s Olympic Games and the first ever gold medal by a woman athlete," said the First Lady. 

She also congratulated Brimin Kipruto and Richard Mateelong for their victories that saw Kenya continue its historic dominance of the 3,000 steeplechase.

"For the boys you also made my heart think of the other youth in our country. I want all of them to be like you, to love their country and be ambitious," she said.

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The First Lady also commended Catherine Ndereba and Eunice Jepkorir for their victory on Sunday.

"I am confident that Ndereba would have done even better were it not for the crowded field and lack of awareness that there was an athlete ahead of her," she said.

She also commended Micah Kogo for winning a bronze medal in the men’s 10,000 metres. 

"You have done us proud, and won medals not just for yourselves but for Kenya and brought glory to our nation. His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki also shares in this great joy and sends his congratulations," said the First Lady who watched the athletes run while in the company of her grandchildren.’

She also hailed the stewardship of Sports Minister Hellen Sambili, noting that she had injected vigour and good leadership skills in the run-up to the games and the high morale at the Kenyan Olympic village in Beijing.

“To Prof Sambili, I say a job well done lady, keep it up, encourage the youth all the way. I am with you always, come back with more medals," she said.

The First Lady wished the Kenyan team great successes in the upcoming events.

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