NAIROBI, October 26- London and Berlin marathon champion, Eliud Kipchoge, has identified Afro-pop group Sauti Sol’s Sura Yako smash hit as his favourite pre-competition song.
Speaking to IAAF’s Personal Best, Kipchoge who won his first Berlin title on September 27 in a career best 2:04:00 after a second finish there in 2013, revealed missing out of the London 2012 Olympics as his biggest disappointment in the sport.
“I like a Kenyan Afro-pop band called Sauti Sol and I love a song by them called Sura Yako. It has the best beats and helps concentrate my mind,” the 2003 world 5000m champion admitted.
The mega hit was released in October last year before quickly blazing local chats and becoming an anthem.
It was belted by the band formed in Nairobi by vocalists Bien-Aimé Baraza, Willis Chimano and Delvin Mudigi in 2005, initially an acapella group before, guitarist Polycarp Otieno joined and they named themselves Sauti Sol.
Like his favourite band, Kipchoge has enjoyed a stellar year, winning both the Berlin and London marathons to underline his status as the top marathoner at present having turned to the roads after missing selection in the 2012 Olympics in his favoured 5000m at the Kenyan Trials.
“I was truly prepared for the Olympic Trials in the 5000m but only managed to finish seventh. As selectors could only pick three athletes, I missed out,” he explained.
Beating revered Ethiopian track king, Kenenisa Bekele and retired Moroccan legend, Hicham El Guerrouj, to the world title in Paris ranks as his crowning moment of his career thus far despite winning three of the biggest marathons in the world, Chicago (last year), London and Berlin.
“It was definitely becoming 5000m world champion at the age 19 at the 2003 Paris World Championships. I still remember the bit crowd chanting after I crossed the finish line, it was really loud.
“It came as a surprise to me to win gold because it was my first World Championships but above all I was up against two great competitors in Kenenisa Bekele and Hicham El Guerrouj.
“Victory in Paris changed my life. From that point on I was invited to all the big races for 10 or more years,” the Beijing Olympics 5000m silver winner told.
“It is being a family man with three children, two boys and one girl, and a wife and being able to mentor the young generation to love sport and to know sport can have a positive health benefit,” the affable Kipchoge described his top achievement outside the many honours he has won on the track and roads.
Kenenisa remains his biggest adversary as he hails his coach and former Worlds steeplechase silver medallist, Patrick Sang for his influence in shaping his long career.
“I raced him for 10 years and I beat him only once – in Paris 2003. In all my other races I had to play second best to him. He was a rival but he was always a very sporting rival.
“I have received several pieces of great coaching advice from my coach Sang, including: believe that I am the best competitor, that I should race and train against myself, learn to feel how my body responds and to fully concentrate. I apply these principles to every race. It helps create confidence.”
“Running the 40km Naiberi-Sergoit route in Kenya. I run this trail twice a month and I enjoy it because it comprises of flat, uphill and downhill sections,” the champion marathoner tells of his training route of choice.
Speaking last week, the 30 year-old Worlds silver medallist in 5000m in 2007 expressed his wish to be considered for next year’s 2016 Rio Olympics in the marathon.
However, a possible London defence next April and Athletics Kenya’s idea of conducting Trials in mid February clouds the possibility of seeing the hottest marathoner on the planet compete at his third Olympics after winning bronze at the 2004 Games in Athens and silver four years later in the Chinese capital.
Kipchoge will travel to New York for Friday’s AIMS Gala after being nominated as The Best Male Marathoner of the Year after a stellar year.
He has won five out of the six classic distance races he has started since announcing his arrival on the roads with a winning debut at the 2013 Hamburg Marathon where he ran 2:05:30.
Missing out on the London 2012 Olympics perhaps was the catalyst needed to gift the world a marathoner of the ages.