Five Kenyan-born athletes will represent the United States of America at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan from July, 23 to August, 8.
Team Kenya to battle an 'enemy from within' at the Olympics
The athletes are: Paul Chelimo, Hillary Bor, Benard Keter, Sally Kipyego and Aliphine Tuliamuk.
Traditionally, Kenyans at the Summer Olympics have a history of battling it out against their eternal rivals, Ethiopia. However, this time round the enemy will have come from within.
Due to lack of financial support and at times fierce competition, Kenyan athletes have opted to go in search of greener pastures. The athletes include:
Chelimo was born in Iten, the capital of Elgeyo Marakwet county on October 27, 1990.
He moved to the United States on a running scholarship in 2010 joining University of North Carolina - Greensboro.
Chelimo became an American citizen by joining the United States Army as a water treatment specialist where he then signed up to the World Class Athletic Program, an initiative which supports nationally and internationally ranked soldiers in participating on the U.S. Olympic team.
At the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, Chelimo became the first American male since 1964 to win an Olympic medal in the 5,000 meters.
Hillary Bor and Benard Keter
Just like Chelimo, the two 3,000m steeplechase athletes found a path to citizenship in the the land of the free and the home of the brave. by joining the United States Army.
Bor, born in Eldoret, the capital of Uasin Gishu county, won a scholarship to Iowa State University in 2007.
At 31, Bor is headed to his second Olympics. At the 2016, Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil, the 5'6 athlete finished at a dismal seventh position clocking 8 minutes 22 seconds.
Benard Keter on the other hand is set to make his debut at the Tokyo Olympics. The soldier-athlete finished second at the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase US trials with a time of 8:21.81.
Keter comes from a family of Olympians. His brother, Tareq Mubarak Taher, competed in steeplechase at 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics representing Bahrain.
Born in Molo, Nakuru county, the 29-year-old moved to America on a scholarship and won numerous honors during his college days as a long-distance athlete for Cloud County Community College, Wayland Baptist University and Texas Tech University.
Following his years as a collegiate athlete, Keter would go on to join the United States Army and is currently a unit supply specialist while running for the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program.
Sally Kipyego and Aliphine Tuliamuk
The two marathoners are set to make history by becoming the first black women to represent U.S. in the Olympic marathon.
Kipyego will be making her second trip to the summer games. Her first was in the 2012 games held in London, when she was still a Kenyan citizen. She won a silver medal in the 10,000 meters.
Kipyego travelled to the United States in 2005 as a college athlete for Texas Tech University.
In 2016, Kipyego finished second at the New York City Marathon, later discovering she was four weeks pregnant at the time.
She and her husband, Kevin Chelimo, welcomed their daughter, Emma, in July 2017—the same year Kipyego became a U.S. citizen.
Aliphine Tuliamuk on the other hand will be making her Olympic debut this year. Born in West Pokot County, Tuliamuk kick-started her running career in 2000 after marathon legend Tegla Louroupe gifted Aliphine her first pair of running shoes for winning a school championship.
After Tuliamuk finished high-school, she was presented with an opportunity to travel to the USA to run for Iowa State University with a full athletic scholarship.
Aliphine received her U.S. citizenship in April of 2016 and promptly won the USA Track and Field (USATF) 25k Championships less than a month later.
She would go on to win the 2016 20k and 5k titles as well. Tuliamuk would then do one better in 2017, winning four USATF titles (cross country, 25k, 10k and 7 miles).
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