Country: Kenya

Profession: Athlete – 3000m Steeplechase

Career highlights:

  • 3000m Steeplechase World Record (8:44.32)
  • World Athletics Championships 3000m Steeplechase record (8:57.84)
  • 2019 World Championships Gold (3000m st.)
  • 2018 Commonwealth Games Silver (1500 m)
  • 2018 African Championships Gold (3000m st.)
  • 2015 African Games Bronze (1500 m)

When did you realize that you could be a professional athlete?

I realized that I could be a professional athlete in 2015 when I missed being selected for World Championship in Beijing. I was number four during the Kenyan national trials and so I didn’t make the World Championship team, but I got a slot to represent my country at the All Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville the same year. At that time, I competed in the 1500m and I won a bronze medal which gave me huge confidence and I knew I could be better the following season.

How did you decide on the 3000m Steeplechase as your event?

In 2015 I was a 1500m athlete, but my decision came to change to the steeplechase during Oregon Diamond League 2016. I had not prepared fully for the 1500m and so I wanted to switch to a slow pace event, and I decided to take on 3000m steeplechase. I had no idea of how to tackle all the barriers, but I at least had some of the basics since I used to do 400m hurdles while in school. After the race, I developed more interest in the event.

It is such an interesting event – what are the special skills an athlete needs to compete in it?

Hahahaha… There are no special skills that an athlete needs in order to compete in the 3000m steeplechase event, just be determined, disciplined all along and enjoy the race and most importantly have passion for it!

Most athletes switch from track to road running, but you did the opposite. What made you decide to move to track events?

I decided to move to track because I have speed and I enjoy speed so much! I love to see how fast I can be in some events.

The steeplechase has recently been reintroduced to the Diamond League. How does this impact your plans for 2021?

I’m glad steeplechase has been reintroduced back to the Wanda Diamond League, I intend to use it to shape up for the Olympics.

Looking ahead to life after athletics, what would you like to do once you retire from the sport?

Hahahha…I am not sure yet what to do after athletics because it hasn’t crossed my mind…  I am still focused on athletics because I know I have a long way to go…

(Image credit: Sport Journalist Association of Kenya)

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