Rwoikyok (our athletes), a praise song by Kalenjin artiste Kapkoma Lady rented the air at the Eldoret International Airport as newly crowned world Under-20 3000m steeplechase champion Amos Serem arrived in style.
At hand to receive the star who is seen heir to two-time Olympic winner and four-time world champion Ezekiel Kemboi, was his father Joseph Serem.
As culture dictates, Serem who comes from Uasin Gishu was offered traditional sour milk, Mursik.
Last week, Serem stormed to steeplechase stardom in a splendit display, punctuated by a jig almost similar to the ones performed by Ezekiel Kemboi after races.
A convoy of more than 30 vehicles snaked through Kapseret and Langas along Eldoret-Kapseret road to Eldoret town where Serem was received by a team of Uasin Gishu government officials led by Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno.
Serem said the World Under-20 3000m steeplechase win at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani was his breakthrough and a launchpad to more global races.
“I have been in top form this year and my coach knew we were going for gold. I was confident because my body was good during the heats,” Serem told Standard Sport at the airport.
The rising steeplechase star trains in Kaptagat under Eliud Kipchoge’s coach Patrick Sang.
He said he is inspired by Ezekiel Kemboi’s stunning accomplishments in the steeplechase, noting that he closely followed the legend’s races while growing up as a boy.
“I felt I had a lot of energy at the World Under-20 championships. I want to run and win more races for Kenya if given the opportunity,” Serem said.
His father Joseph Serem – a catechist (preacher) in the catholic church said he introduced his son to his mentor, Kemboi and coach Sang when he was still in school.
“I am happy for his win at a global championship. I took him to Ezekiel Kemboi and Timothy Kitum (former 800m Olympic bronze medallist) who encouraged him,” the father said.
Serem outsprinted Ethiopian Tadese Tekele and compatriot Simon Koech to win the barrier and water jump race at the World Under-20 championships in 8:30.72.
Amos Serem in summary
Year of birth: August 28, 2002
Personal best in 3000m steeplechase: 8:20.26