Seven Kenyan athletes were this month (July) awarded Olympic scholarships from the ANOCA athletes support programme Paris 2024.
The award ceremony took place at the NOC Kenya headquarters, and was chaired by the NOC President, Paul Tergat, with the President General of Athletics Kenya in attendance.
Each beneficiary will receive a monthly grant equivalent to 1,000 Dollars valid until August 2024. This includes the services of a specialised coach, equipment, training at home or abroad, regular medical assistance and follow-up, among others, so that the athletes can focus on preparing and qualifying for the Paris 2024 event.
The athletes were nominated by their respective sports federations. Their files were submitted by NOC-K to ANOCA for scrutiny by the International Federations (IFs).
“Out of a pool of 101 files only seven got the nod,” said NOC-K President, Paul Tergat.
Among the seven athletes selected is 100m champion Ferdinand Omanyala, who still holds the African and national record in the discipline (9.77) and is ranked world number 7. He became the first Kenyan athlete to reach the semis at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Reacting to the grant, Omanyala said:
“I’d be lying if I say I expected this. This means Paris 2024 is just a blink away. I want to make my country proud. Thank you so much NOC-K for this opportunity.”
Abel Kipsang, is ranked 1500m number 1 and silver medallist (5000m) at the World Championships and Commonwealth Games. He had this to say:
“My preparations towards Paris 2024 start as early as now. The 1,500m is quite competitive so I intend to use this scholarship to better my performance,”
World silver medallist, Margaret Chelimo, has won a string of titles including the All Africa Games gold medal (2015) silver medals at the African Championships (2016) Commonwealth Games (2018) and World Championships (2019).
Nicholas Kimeli, a young 5000m athlete, competed in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and finished fourth. He has been outstanding this year in several athletics events, clocking the world’s best 5000m time of 12.46.33, thus breaking Eliud Kipchoge’s record of 12.46.53.
Jacob Krop, also in the 5000m, will be looking to improve his 2024 performance. He recently won the Kip Keino Classic race.
Hear him after he received the scholarship:
“It was quite unfortunate to miss the Tokyo Olympics but receiving this scholarship has proven to me that second chances in life are even sweeter. I’m so happy and I thank NOC-K for providing this opportunity and making my belief in an Olympic medal get closer,”
Beatrice Chebet, 3000m, won a gold medal at the U-20 World 5000m Championships in 2018 and at the World Cross Country Championships in 2019. She receives her scholarship as she makes her Commonwealth Games and World Championships debuts.
She notes that, as an athlete, she always feels privileged to receive any kind of support and to know that she can get funding to train, go to Championships and be more confident.
Charles Simwoto, 1500m, also sees it as a very good opportunity that will act as a powerful spur to his performance at the Paris 2024 Games.
After extending warm congratulations to the athletes, Dr Paul Terga concluded:
“The scholarship goes a long way to entrench our often-repeated objective of having the athlete at the centre of all we do. It also deepens our partnership and collaboration with Athletics Kenyan.” He thanked the ANOCA President, Mustapha Berraf, for the scholarships insisting he was grateful to him for helping African athletes.