Ezekiel Kemboi

Ezekiel Kemboi

Kemboi was born in Matira, Marakwet district. He attended Kapsowar secondary school. He never participated in athletics until he left secondary school. He took the athletics world by storm in his very first event which was the 2001 Africa athletics championships where he won his event despite falling. At the 2002 Commonwealth games he finished second to team-mate Stephen Cherono who later defected to Bahrain and became Saif Shaheen. A year later at the world championships, Kemboi battled Shaheen at the world championships final which Shaheen narrowly won. At the 2003 All Africa games, Kemboi edged compatriot Paul Kipsiele Koech to win gold.

At the 2004 Olympics, Kemboi led a memorable Kenya 1-2-3 finish with Paul Kipsiele and Brimin Kipruto. It was Kenya’s only gold medal at those Olympics. The three would dominate this event for the next decade or so.

However Shaheen was to beat Kemboi to silver yet again at the 2005 World championships. In 2006 , Kemboi successfully defended his Commonwealth games gold medal. He won a third successive World championship silver medal in 2007, finishing second to compatriot Brimin Kipruto. At the 2008 Olympic games, Kemboi finished a dismal seventh. Many thought at the time that his best years were behind him.

However Kemboi bounced back in style. Prior to the 2009, world athletics championships, he told the Kenyan media that he was tired of winning silver medals after having won three silvers in a row and he was determined to win gold this time. In 2009  he won gold at the World championships. He went on to defend his title in the 2011 World championships.

At the 2012 Olympics Kemboi was so far ahead of the field that before finishing, he crossed over to the 8th lane before engaging in his celebratory gyrations. Kemboi’s performance along with David Rudisha’s gold medal winning performance were the highlights for Kenya at the Olympics.

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