A gritty name in distance lane

A gritty name in distance lane

Double Olympic gold-medallist Kip Keino is known for kick-starting the Kenyan domination in middle and long distance events, inspiring many of his country’s men and women to take up athletics.

Keino didn’t have a great start to his Olympic career, finishing fifth in the 5000M at Tokyo in 1964.

He also failed to make the 1500M final. But Kieno’s golden moments came four years later at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics where he won the 1500M title, beating American favourite and world record holder Jim Ryun by a margin of 20 metres. He also claimed silver in the 5000M while he had to pull out of the 10000M due to pain caused by gall stones.
Ignoring doctors’ warning, Keino decided to run the 1500M as well. He almost missed the start as he was stuck in a traffic jam. He ran his way to the stadium to be there on time, before outclassing the field.

Keino couldn’t defend his 1500M Olympic title in 1972 Munich Games, ending up with a silver medal. He, however, made amends by clinching the 3000M steeplechase gold before retiring from the sport a year later.

He was the Commonwealth Games champion in the 1500 and 5000 metres as well.
Born in Kipsamo, Keino’s parents died when he was young and he was then brought up by his aunt. After completing his school, Keino joined Kenya Police and played rugby before turning his attention to athletics.

Keino’s good work extends beyond sports, the president of the Kenyan Olympic Committee runs a charitable organisation for orphans and also the Kip Keino primary school.

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