The 5,000m race in athletics has a rich history that Kenyans rightfully dominate.
From legendries Kipchoge Keino, Naftali Temu, Paul Ngugi, Daniel Komen and Eliud Kipchoge to Vivian “Pocket” Cheruiyot, Hellen Obiri, Pauline Konga and Isabella Ochichi, Kenya has cemented its niche in the track race.
The world has seen Africa end the European dominance over the years at the Olympics and World Championships with a horde of Ethiopian legendary athletes Kenenisa Bekele, Haile Gebrselassie, Meseret Defar and Tirunesh Didada staking acclaim.
Kipchoge Keino (front) has been a household name in Kenyan athletics from the 1960s. PHOTO | FILE |
Medal winners of the Mexico 1968 Olympic Games: Gold medal winner Kenyan Naftali Temu (centre), silver medalist Ethiopian Mamo Wolde (left) and bronze medallist Tunisian Mohammed Gammoudi (right) shake hands on the podium after receiving their medals for the Men’s 10,000m on October 13, 1968. PHOTO | AFP
Tunisian champion Mohamed Gammoudi (right) crosses the finish line of the 5000m event in Mexico City, ahead of Kenyan Kipchoge Keino (centre) and Nabiba Naftali Temu (left), 18 October 1968, during the Mexico Olympic Games. PHOTO | AFP
In fact, the story on Ngugi and Cheruiyot would resonate so well if a movie script is to be written about the race, that is the second longest event on track after 10,000m.
That they are the first Kenyans to win the Olympic 5,000m title goes without saying. They remain the only gold medallists from the Olympics in the event.
Ngugi won in 1988 Seoul, while the women had to wait until the 2016 Rio Olympics to toss to Cheruiyot’s great triumph.
The 1988 Olympic medal winners introduced to the crowd at JKIA soon after landing. From left to right, John Ngugi (5,000m, gold), Peter Rono (1,500m, gold), boxer Chris Sande (middle-weight, bronze), Peter Koech (3,000m steeplechase, silver), Julius Kariuki (3,000m steeplechase, gold), Paul Ereng (800m, gold) and Kipkemboi Kimeli (10,000m, bronze). PHOTO | FILE |
The 5,000m event made its debut at the Olympics during the 1912 Stockholm Games with the women’s claiming their share starting at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games.
Prior to 1996, women had competed in an Olympic 3,000m race since 1984.
The race covers 12.5 laps of a standard track where one lap covers 400m.
Kenyan distance running legend Henry Rono. PHOTO | FILE |NATION MEDIA GROUP
Bekele holds the World 5,000m record time of 12 minutes and 37.35 seconds set in Hengelo on May 31, 2004, while Dibaba holds the women’s 10 year-old record of 14:11.15 set on June 6, 2008.
Bekele shattered compatriot Haile Gebrselassie’s previous record of time of 12:39.36 from Helsinki on June 13, 1998.
Kenya’s Daniel Komen had only broken the record 10 months earlier with a time of 12:39.74 from Brussels on August 22, 1997, before Gebrselassie lowered it.
Kenenisa Bekele (R), Sileshi Sihine (2nd R) and Haile Gebrselassie (1664) of Ethiopia lead the pack during the men’s 10,000m final of the athletics competition in the National Stadium at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Photo/REUTERS
The times by Bekele, Gebrselassie and Komen remain the fastest in the history of the race. Other Kenyans who have held the 5,000m World Record are Henry Rono and Moses Kiptanui.
OBIRI HOLDS KENYAN RECORD
Rono broke the record twice in 1978 (13:08.4) and 1981 (13:06.20), while Kiptanui held it in 1995 (12:55.30).
Defar broke the women’s world record twice in 2006 (14:24.53) and 2007 (14:16.63)., before Dibaba’s feat of 14:11.15 in 2008.
Ethiopia’s Meseret Defar celebrates as she wins the gold medal in the women’s 5000m final at the athletics event of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 10, 2012 in London.
Hellen Obiri holds the Kenyan record of 14:18.37 set on June 8, 2017 in Rome, Italy having broken compatriot Vivian Cheruiyot’s record of 14:20.87 attained on July 29, 2011 in Stockholm, Sweden.
Finn Hannes Kolehmainen had the great honour of winning the men’s 5,000m gold at the inaugural 1912 Games in a World Record time of 14:36.6.
However, it was not until the 1964 Tokyo Olympics when Kenya made its debut in the race with Keino finishing fifth in 13:50.4, as Emeiran Bob Schul won 13:48.8.
And just like Kenya with Ngugi’s 1988 win, it has been USA’s only victory in the race at the Olympics.
Africa not only got to taste its maiden victory, but also medals at the Olympics during the 1968 Mexico City Summer Games.
It’s legendary Tunisian athlete Mohammed Gammoudi (14:05.0), who edged out Keino (14:05.2) and Temu (14:06.4) for the gold medal.
Finn Lasse Virén made history as the first man to ever retain the Olympic 5,000m title when he won at 1972 Munich Games and 1976 Montreal, a feat that Somali-born Mo Farah of Britain equalled with victory in 2012 London and 2016 Rio.
Africa tasted its second victory when Ethiopian Miruts Yifter triumphed at the 1980 Moscow Games.
That saw Africans dominate before Farah’s reign with only Dieter Baumann of Germany halting the charge at 1992 Barcelona, where Kenya’s Paul Bitok won silver.
Bitok also settled for silver losing the battle to Vénuste Niyongabo of Burundi at 1996 Atlanta.
Some of those who have won since then are Million Wolde (Ethiopian) 2000 Sydney, Hicham El Guerrouj (Morocco) 2004 Athens and Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) 2008 Beijing, before Farah cracked the code.
Kipchoge got bronze when El Guerrouj claimed victory with Bekele going for silver, before scaling to silver when Bekele triumphed in Beijing, where Kenya’s Edwin Soi took bronze.
Thomas Longosiwa would get a bronze for Kenya in London.
Kenya had the worst show at the Olympics when they failed to qualify an athlete for the first time to the final at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Kenyan-born Paul Chelimo won silver for USA as Farah dominated.
Britain’s Mo Farah (right) celebrates with Kenya’s silver medallist Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku (left) after winning the final of the men’s 5000 metres athletics event at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the “Bird’s Nest” National Stadium in Beijing on August 29, 2015. PHOTO | ADRIAN DENNIS |AFP
Chinese Wang Junxia claimed the women’s gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics in 14:59.88, where Konga made history at the first Kenya woman to win an Olympic medal when she settled for silver in 15:03.49.
Italian Roberta Brunet went for bronze in 15:07.52 as another Kenyan Rose Cheruiyot finished eighth in a race, where Briton Paula Radcliffe was place fifth.
Africa have dominated at the Olympics since Romanian Gabriela Szabo’s victory at the 2000 Sydney Games.
Defar won at the 2004 Athens and 2012 London Olympics, while Dibaba at 2008 Beijing, with Cheruiyot winning at 2016 Rio as Obiri claimed silver.
Cheruiyot, who had lost to Defar to settle for silver in 2012 London, triumphed in Rio with an Olympic Record time of 14:26.17, as Obiri ran a personal best of 14:29.77.
Finland is the most successful country in the men’s race at the Olympics with six titles followed by Ethiopia with three. Ethiopian is the most successful in women, having three titles out of the six editions.
The race has been part of the World Championships since inception in 1983 Helsinki, Finland.
NINETEEN-YEAR OLD KIPCHOGE
While Kenyan men have had a dry spell at the Olympics winning only one title, they have dominated at the World Championships, having won in seven out of the 16 editions.
Ethiopia have had the lion’s share in the women’s race at the Worlds, winning in five events and are followed by Kenya with three victories and Romania two.
Interestingly, Kenya is yet to win the men’s title since Benjamin Limo’s exploits at the 2005 Helsinki event, while its only until 2009 Berlin that Kenya had its first title in Vivian Cheruiyot, who went on to defend the title in 2011 Daegu.
Former World 5,000m champion Benjamin Limo celebrates winning a past race. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Yobes Ondieki was the first Kenyan man to win the World 5,000m title in 1991 Tokyo, but its Ismael Kirui, who made history as the first man to defend his title when he won at 1993 Stuttgart and 1995 Gothenburg.
Kenya would win it for the fourth time in a row when Daniel Komen reigned at 1997 Athens only for Moroccan Salah Hissou to halt their dominance with victory at 1999 Seville, where Benjamin Limo settled for silver.
Richard Limo might have reclaimed the title for Kenya at 2001 Edmonton but it’s the 19-year-old Eliud Kipchoge, who stunned 12:52.79 Hicham El Guerrouj and Kenenisa Bekele to clinch the world title at 2003 Saint-Denis in a Championship record time of 12:52.79. The record still stands.
Kenyan- born Bernard Lagat of USA would win in 2007 Osaka, before Farah glided to his history-making hat-trick to defend the title after Kirui with wins at 2011 Daegu, 2013 Moscow and 2015 Beijing.
Kenya’s Hellen Onsando Obiri can’t hide her joy after winning the final of the women’s 5000m at the 2017 IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium in London on August 13, 2017. PHOTO | JEWEL SAMAD | AFP
However, Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris brought Farah’s reign to an end when he beat him in 2017 London, with the Briton settling for silver.
Cheruiyot (2009, 2011), Defar (2007, 2013) and Dibaba (2003, 2005) have won the world title twice each as Obiri stunned favourite and defending champion Almaz Ayana at 2017 London.
Kenya’s Hellen Onsando Obiri wins the final of the women’s 5000m at the 2017 IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium in London on August 13, 2017. PHOTO | ANDREJ ISAKOVIC |AFP
Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana and Kenya’s Hellen Onsando Obiri (right) lead heat 1 in the women’s 5000m at the 2017 IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium in London on August 10, 2017. PHOTO | JEWEL SAMAD | AFP
Ayana, who had won in 2015 Beijing, had to settle for silver in London.
Ethiopia and Kenya have completely locked out other countries from the World Under-20 Championships in men’s 5000m, where they have so far shared equally the number of wins.
They have eight each with some of their most famous win coming through Daniel Komen (Kenya) in 1994 (Kenya) and Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) in 1992.
Edward Zakayo ended Kenya’s eight years wait with victory last year in Poland, what with Beatrice Chebet handing the country its maiden victory over the distance.
Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]
“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank. The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain.
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
Monitor water pumps remotely via your phone
Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.
Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.
ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.
Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.
Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.
A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.
Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.
The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.
Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.
“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.
In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.
“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.
“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”
The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.
Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.
The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.
They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.
The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.
Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.
As part of aggressive campaigns for his presidential bid, the DP, who views the former Prime Minister as his main challenger in the 2022 polls, will begin his tour in Migori and Kisumu in the third week of July, and thereafter Homa Bay and Siaya in the last week.
The DP has rolled out a ground operation that includes United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party and aspirants’ regional forums, regional economic forums, allowing affiliate political parties to sprout without the demand that they merge with UDA and assembling a wide array of professionals to front his presidential bid.
In a politically changed environment unlike the one in 2017 when he was an influential voice in government and the chief campaigner, DP Ruto now finds himself technically being the head of the opposition after the acrimonious fall-out with the President.
The relationship has worsened further after President Kenyatta’s truce with the ODM leader, his main challenger in the 2017 disputed presidential vote, thus alienating the DP further.
His allies say he’s building the infrastructure that will help him win decisively in the first round in next year’s presidential election.
Leading the preparations for the DP’s Nyanza tour is Mr Odinga’s former aide, management consultant and strategist Eliud Owalo, who is also the convener of the Luo-Nyanza Economic Caucus.
Yesterday, he said the DP will start his Nyanza tour in mid-July for what he termed an intensive grassroots tour aimed at campaigning for his presidential bid.
“The leader of the Hustler movement, Deputy President William Ruto, will make an intensive grassroots tour of the four Luo-Nyanza counties within the second half of the month of July.
In the two-legged tour, he will first visit Migori and Kisumu counties in the third week of July 2021 followed closely by a tour of Homa Bay and Siaya in the fourth week of July 2021,” read a statement sent to newsroom, which Mr Owalo signed.
Apart from the meet the people tour, the DP is expected to attend church services as well as continue with his economic empowerment programmes for youth and women groups.
The DP is expected to use the tour in his political opponent’s backyard to popularise his bottom-up economic model.
The region has always voted overwhelmingly for the ODM chief in the past elections.
“We want the Luo Nyanza region to lay its stake in any future governance dispensation on the basis of a responsive and feasible development agenda for our people as opposed to positions that individual members of the community will be holding in that government,” Mr Owalo said.
The DP started courting the region last year when Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi hosted more than 100 youths from Nyanza under the umbrella of “Nyanza Youth Movement for Ruto 2022” led by Mr Stephen Midenyo aka Mada and 2013 Rangwe Parliamentary candidate Everest Okambo.
A year ago, as part of a broader plot targeting the region, Mr Sudi and his Kiharu counterpart Ndindi Nyoro made a discreet visit to Bondo and Kisumu counties in what they described as “private functions” but which had a strong political inclination.
A week ago, Migori governor Okoth Obado, who is viewed as a rebel in the region, was hosted by Mr David Ruto, the DP’s brother.
The plan, Mr Sudi says, is to target the youth, women’s groups and the church to reach out to the Nyanza populace and lure a significant number of voters to join DP Ruto’s bandwagon.
“We’re reaching out to the whole country because the hustler movement is not confined to a certain region,” Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono told the Nation.
A meeting convened by Mr Owalo at a Nairobi hotel in mid-May had many former foot soldiers of Mr Odinga attending. They include those who decamped after losing ODM nominations in 2013 and 2017 elections, among them former Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma, former Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno and former Rangwe MP Martin Ogindo.
Also in attendance was Citizen’s Convention Party (CCP) leader Grace Akumu.
UDA Secretary-General Veronica Maina told the Nation that in their recruitment drive, Nyanza is not left out. The party’s clerks, she said, are stationed in the region.
Won’t bear fruit
Mr Odinga’s troops led by Suba South MP John Mbadi have been on record saying that such meetings won’t bear fruits for the DP.
Mr Mbadi said the DP needs to understand why people of Nyanza associate with ODM and believe in Mr Odinga. The DP is also said to be making inroads in Mr Odinga’s other support bases of Western and Coast.