NAIROBI, August 24 – President Mwai Kibaki and First lady Lucy Kibaki on Sunday congratulated the Kenyan Olympic team for their sterling performance in the just concluded games in Beijing, China.
In a joint congratulatory message they said the team had done Kenya proud by bagging five gold, five silver and four bronze medals.
“By winning 14 medals you have placed the country at the top of the medal table in the Continent and among the best twenty sporting countries participating in this year’s Olympics,” President Kibaki and the first lady said in a message sent to newsrooms.
The five gold medal winners were Pamela Jelimo in 800m race, Brimin Kipruto in the 3000m steeple chase, Nancy Jebet for the women’s 1500m, Samuel Kamau Wanjiru in the Marathon and Wilfred Bungei – 800m.
Also heaping praise on the Olympic team was Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka who said that the athletes had shown the world Kenya’s prowess in middle and long distance races.
He said: “Kenyans have been glued to their screens cheering our athletes and the last marathon win was a good close to our medals campaign.”
Musyoka, who had accompanied the Olympic team to Beijing before proceeding to Australia and Turkey on government business, spoke to journalists after jetting back into the country.
And as for Sammy Wanjiru’s wife Terezah Njeri, she was more than elated about her husband’s victory she told Capital News.
“I am very happy for the way my husband participated in that marathon. I am just thanking God. He had worked very hard. Congratulations and may God bless him,” she said.
Wanjiru, 21, crossed the finishing line in two hours six minutes and 32 seconds to become the first Kenyan to win marathon gold and breaking the world record that Portugal’s Carlos Lopes set in Los Angeles in 1984.
His two coaches Francis Kamau and Robert Kioni described Wanjiru’s obedient attitude during his training as the key to his success.
“We are very proud of him he followed exactly what we told him and I think that is the reason he succeeded,” said Kamau.
“During the training, we were together until we parted at the airport, and he brought home gold,” Kioni interjected.
The Government has pledged Ksh750,000 for Gold, Ksh500,000 for Silver and Ksh250,000 for bronze medal winners in the Beijing Olympics.
Several corporate companies have announced that they would match that offer.