Despite a slow start at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Kenyan athletes registered a stellar performance and emerged the best in Africa.
Millions awaiting Eliud Kipchoge and team after quiet return from Tokyo
The Tokyo games were Kenya’s 2nd best performance in Olympics history.
However, their triumph appears to have gone uncelebrated by the Kenyan government which has not received them with the same energy they were flagged off with.
Photos of Kenya's Olympics champs quietly jetting in have been doing rounds on social media while in neighbouring Uganda, the athletes were received by a convoy of vehicles ordered by President Yoweri Museveni.
It’s not all gloom for Kenya’s champions since according to an official from the Kenya Sports Journalists Association, medal winners such Eliud Kipchoge stand to benefit from a cash reward from the government.
“Gold medalists get Sh1 million, silver medalists get Sh750,000 while bronze medalists are given Sh500,000,” our source said.
Faith Kipyegon - Women’s 1500m
Peres Jepchirchir - Women’s marathon
Hellen Obiri - Women’s 5000m
Ferguson Rotich - Men’s 800m
Brigid Kosgei - Women’s marathon
Timothy Cheruiyot - Men’s 1500m
Benjamin Kigen - Men’s 3000m steeplechase
Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi - Women’s 3000m steeplechase
Kenya’s marathon legend Catherine Ndereba told Pulse Live that while the International Olympics Committee is not focused on rewarding athletes with monetary tokens, the title goes a long way into shaping an athletes career.
“When an athlete wins an Olympics medal, they are now able to negotiate appearance fees at other events such as the world championships. One can be paid to participate in the other competitive events,” Ndereba said.
For instance, when the Boston Marathon calls Brigid Kosgei to participate in the next event, they will be talking to the current Olympics gold medalist, a title she can use to negotiate a fee. The appearance fee is separate from the prize money.
Ndereba revealed that she was paid $60,000 (approx Sh6 million) and $30,000 (approx Sh3 million) for winning gold and silver medals in past world championships.
“The Tokyo Olympics was Kenya’s 2nd best performance and I am very proud of the whole team,” she praised.
Despite the controversies, Kenya left Rio 2016 Olympics with 13 medals (6 golds, 6 silver, and 1 bronze), marking its most successful outcome in Olympic history based on the medal position.