NAIROBI, September 17 – Olympic 800 metres champion and IAAF golden jackpot winner Pamela Jelimo jetted back in the country on Tuesday night to a tumultuous welcome at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
There was utter bedlam at the airport as family, friends, members of the cabinet, parliamentarians, and curious onlookers all jostled for a glimpse of the sensational teenager.
Protocol and security measures went out of the window as security officials frantically tried and failed to contain a frenzied crowd and observe protocol as everyone sought to get access to the arrival gates.
And when Jelimo finally disembarked, there was pandemonium as the crowd went wild surging forward to see her.
Her mother Rhoda Keter and minister for sports Hellen Sambili were at hand to welcome her bedecking her in traditional celebration regalia of shukas and Simendet as they broke into song and dance.
Camera flashes flicked as paparazzis clicked away looking for the picture of the day as Jelimo tried to come to terms with the welcome.
The journey from Gate 9 to the VIP lounge took almost half an hour as the press and her minders engaged in a push and shove match.
And when she finally got out of the airport, out came the traditional mursik and more dance and more songs before she was whisked away.
Jelimo, who was clearly overwhelmed by the welcome, thanked Kenyans for their support.
“This is a year that I have realised my goal so it means a lot to me, it has brought such joy to my life so I can say that I have enjoyed all my successes,” she said.
She added that if all factors are in place she will attempt to break the 800 metres world record.
“These things are actually depend on several factors like coaching and planning so if everything falls in place then I will be happy to try for it but its all in God’s hands,” said Jelimo.
Minister for Agriculture William Ruto commended Jelimo efforts in promoting the country.
“She has done us proud and has lifted the name of the country. Her achievements are also for the country and she has shown that something good can come from the youth,” said Ruto.
Sambili also heaped praise on the 19 year old, “Jelimo has raised the profile of her Koyo village onto the world map. She has made history and we are so proud of her.”
Jelimo has dominated athletics season in such spectacular fashion completely redefining the two lap race.
She became the first Kenyan woman to win an Olympic gold medal when she won the women’s 80 metres race in Beijing.
Then two weeks later she became the first Kenyan and only the second African to win the IAAF $1 million Golden jackpot when she triumphed in Zurich to complete a six race sweep of the Golden League meetings.
Last Sunday, she won the World Athletics Final in a championships record of 1:56.23 to bring the curtain down on a fantastic season.