MONACO, France, July 2 – Kipchoge Keino, twice Olympic champion and multiple world record holder is the latest athletics legend to be named as one of the 24 inaugural Members of the IAAF Hall of Fame which has been created to mark the year of the IAAF Centenary.
The announcement of this honour comes upon the conclusion of the 18th African Championships in Porto Novo, Benin where the Kenyan team won nine titles and a total of 27 medals for second place on the medal table.
At the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, Keino had already run in the 10,000m and 5000m, getting a silver medal in the latter, before he went to the start line of the 1500m.
However, he showed no tiredness from his earlier races and took the lead on the second lap. With an audacious piece of front running, he destroyed the opposition to win by almost three seconds in an Olympic record of 3:34.91, a margin of victory which has still not been beaten at the Games.
At the 1972 Olympic Games, he decided to take on a new challenge and entered the 3000m Steeplechase.
Despite his lack of experience over the barriers, Keino duly won his second Olympic gold medal after a sprint for the line with his compatriot Ben Jipcho, and he added a 1500m silver medal six days later.
“It gives me the greatest pleasure on the closing of the African Championships to announce the inclusion of Kip Keino to the IAAF Hall of Fame,” said IAAF President Lamine Diack.
“He is an inspirational figure who achieved worldwide fame thanks to his phenomenal deeds on the track, and since his retirement has selflessly ‘given back’ to his country, building schools, an orphanage and an elite training facility for athletes.”
To mark the IAAF Centenary, a total of 24 athletes will become inaugural Members of the IAAF Hall of Fame in 2012, with the Official Induction Ceremony taking place at the IAAF Centenary Gala in Barcelona on November 24.
Keino is the chairman of National Olympics Committee of Kenya and is scheduled to leave tonight for Italy before joining the advance London 2012 squad on Wednesday where he will be honoured with the Freedom of the City of Bristol where the country’s team will be based.