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Discipline key in sports success, Wanja, Kipchoge insist

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 11 – Only the disciplined ones in life are free – This is a famous quote, attributed to marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge.

For a man who has not lost in his last 11 marathons and with a career spanning almost one and a half decades, the saying couldn’t be far-fetched. On Wednesday, as part of a web seminar organized by the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK), Kipchoge couldn’t say this enough times.

“Self-discipline is what drives me. It takes a lot of discipline for one to set priorities right in order. Without discipline success is nothing. That’s what guides you and brings you back to the course when you are outside,” Kipchoge stated.

Veteran Malkia Strikers setter Janet Wanja, also part of the Webinar moderated by BBC Sport Africa’s Lynne Wachira also added her voice to the same.

“For you to maintain at the top, you need to be disciplined, stay focused, set your goals, always want to learn more and take things positively,” Wanja says.

Another important aspect of discipline as highlighted by Kipchoge is being humble in victory and learning to move on and not over-celebrate.

He castigated athletes who choose to ‘tell the body thank you’ and over-indulge after victory.

“The moment you fail to control yourself over success and how society looks you that’s the end of you. You are a human being at the end of the day. Not a celebrity,” Kipchoge noted.

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He added; “Sometimes I really get annoyed when I see some athletes after a championship or something they say they want to tell the body thank you .. it is nonsense. Drinking and doing other things is what draws you out of track. You don’t enjoy life by doing a lot of things but remaining on track and do what you are supposed to do for the whole year.”

Wanja also weighed in on the same saying; “You need to remain grounded and surround yourself with people who will give you the right advice.”

While the world always remember their faces upon success, Kipchoge and Wanja have both stated that they have had to learn with their losses even when the world and critics have pinned them on the walls.

Kipchoge reflected on missing out on an Olympic spot in 2012, stating it was one of the lowest moments in his career.

“Missing one event is not suicide; tomorrow is another day. You just treat it as a challenge and the next day go back to training. I don’t believe in obstacles, I treat them as challenges. I don’t lose, I learn,” Kipchoge stated.

Wanja says; “Everyone has a bad day in office but then, how you pick yourself up from failure is all that matters. You just go back to the drawing board and analyze yourself, know what you did wrong and self-motivate to do better.”

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