NAIROBI, October 4 – Heavy rain washed off what was to be a grand homecoming for Kenyan athletes at the Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret on Saturday.
The ceremony, which was organised by Rift Valley Members of Parliament, was disrupted by the downpour just after keynote addresses from Cabinet Ministers William Ruto and Helen Sambili.
Eldoret was brought to a standstill as the athletes were earlier paraded through the town in a convoy of about 40 cars to the delight of the residents who dropped what they were doing to welcome their heroes.
The convoy snaked along the Eldoret-Kapsabet road before making its entrance through Ronald Ngala Street.
The journey to the stadium was punctuated by long stops along the way which delayed festivities at the ground.
The entourage received a rapturous welcome at the stadium where Sambili, national team Captain Wilfred Bungei and IAAF jackpot winner Pamela Jelimo inspected a guard of honour mounted by a local secondary school.
Tributes were also paid to former Olympians and athletes who were introduced to the crowd.
Kenya finished in 15th place at the Beijing Olympics with 14 medals which included five gold, five silver and four bronze, while the Paralympics team finished 27th overall with nine medals including five gold, three silver and one bronze.