NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 24- Olympic marathon Champion Jemimah Sumgong was on Tuesday evening rewarded with a rise in rank by her employers, the Kenya Defense Forces after her historic feat in Rio de Janeiro, being the first ever Kenyan woman to win an Olympic marathon title.
In an elaborate ceremony at the Moi Air Base (MAB), Sumgong was bestowed with a new rank of Corporal by the acting MAB base commander, ending her six year stint as a Senior Private (SPTE).
She was picked up by a ceremonial military chopper at the Wilson Airport and airlifted to MAB alongside her husband and coach Noah Talam.
“I feel so joyful. I don’t know what to say. It is like moving a car straight from gear one to gear five. I think this is a very huge day for me. It really shows that if you work hard at whatever you do and are diligent at it, you will get rewarded,”
“I thank my employers the KDF because this is a great honor for me to earn this new rank. It has given me enough motivation to work harder and achieve more next season God willing,” the ever cheerful Sumgong told Capital Sport.
Her coach and husband Talam was equally excited with his wife’s latest status in the Kenya Air Force.
“It is a great day for us as a family and I want to thank KDF because of this recognition. For any sportsman, the biggest thing other than winning is getting recognized for your efforts. If everyone followed the example set by KDF, then we will have more success,” Talam offered.
Sumgong won the race in Rio in a time of 2:24:04 ahead of Kenyan-born Bahraini Eunice Kirwa and world champion Mare Dibaba from Ethiopia.
Her targets now remain to defend her London marathon next year and give a shot at the IAAF World Championship title with the games being held in the same city.
“At the moment I want to take some rest and after focus on the two big races next year; London marathon and the world championship. I won’t take part in any other race this year,” she added.