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ATHLETICS

I became African champion using borrowed shoes - Caroline Nyaga

1,500m double Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon donated the shoes

Caroline Nyaga reacts after winning the 10,000m finals during African Senior Athletics Championships held in Mauritius. (Image COURTESY of People Daily)

African champion, Caroline Nyaga has revealed a pair of shoes and a note from double 1,500m Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon inspired her to dominate the Africa Senior Athletics Championships women's 10,000m race.

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Nyaga made the revelation on Wednesday, June 15 while speaking to Citizen TV anchor Jeff Koinange on his JKL show.

Nyaga who crossed the finish line at a time of 32:12:61 explained that she went into the championships with shoes she had worn for years. According to her, she was competing against athletes wearing brand new shoes while she had to rely on ones manufactured around 2010.

"After coming in second in the 5,000 metre trials in Nairobi, I went to Mauritius but the problem is I didn't have running shoes. Mine were worn out so my coach decided to talk to Kipyegon's coach who informed the Olympic champion of my predicament," said Nyaga.

Nyaga claims, she and Kipyegon had never interacted before but the latter was so generous and kind. Aside from delivering her a new pair of shoes, the 2021 Diamond League champion wrote a note, encouraging Nyaga to give her all at the Championships.

"Kipyegon wrote a few words on a piece of paper which she gave to my trainer who passed it on to me. Her message was that I give it my all in the race and try to win a medal for Kenya. This is why I ran the race like a mad woman," Nyaga said.

The Championships held at the Cote d'Or National Sports Complex in Saint Pierre were all too special for someone who initially never thought she would even compete at the continental event.

“During the qualifiers, I finished behind the two qualifying spots hence was not eligible to compete. However, for one reason or the other, an athlete selected for the championships pulled out and I was picked to fill in the final spot,” concluded Nyaga.

Nyaga returned from Mauritius not only with a brand new pair of shoes but also two medals, a gold from 10,000m as well as a bronze from 5,000m.

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