Emmanuel Wanyonyi, a former herdsman, who dropped out of school in class three but resumed with his studies seven years later, has vowed to deliver a medal, at the ongoing World Athletics under 20 Championship in Kasarani.
Wanyonyi, who is in Form One, was plucked from the grassing field by a Good Samaritan, who offered to pay for his education only to be enrolled in athletics programme by his teachers.
And four years later, Wanyonyi is among medal prospects at the junior event and wants to return the favour by winning at least a medal for the country, in his first appearance on the global stage.
Wanyonyi easily sailed to semi-final of men’s 800m with a dominant display at the preliminary rounds. He posted the fastest time in the heats.
“I decided to forge ahead early in the first lap because I don’t trust these Europeans. They can easily outsprint you if you run close together until the final lap. I told myself that they will find me at the finish line,” Wanyonyi, who usually sits back in the race, said after controlling the race with a front running in the heats.
He will now join forces with Noah Kibet, who had earlier booked himself a place in tomorrow’s semifinal.
“I will not change my running style even in the final. That’s what we agreed to do as a team. Noah (Kibet) told me to kick early and that’s what we plan to do even in the semis and the final.”
“We want to win gold,” promised Wanyonyi, who draws inspiration from Team Kenya’s performance in the just-concluded Tokyo Olympics, in the distance.
Medal prospect Sheila Chepkosgei was, however, disqualified from the 800m women’s race for lane infringement.
Meanwhile, Peter Kithome and Alocias Kiongetich will have to beat the time posted by Russian Denis Novoseltsev (50.88) and Roshawn Clarke (50.93) of Jamaica, should they make it to men’s 400m hurdles final on Sunday.
The Kenyan duo made it through to Saturday’s semis final with Kiongetich clocking a new season-best (951.41) despite finishing fourth.
Kithome, a Form Three student at St. Valentines High School, finished second behind Novoseltsev in a time of 51.31.