What you need to know:
- Kipyegon was also flanked by her husband, 2012 London Olympics 800m bronze medallist Timothy Kitum and her daughter Alyne.
- "From today, any Kenyan who participates in a world event and breaks a world record, unlike in the past, will be recognised through cash rewards,” said Ruto.
When she made history as the first Kenyan woman to win a world title in 1,500m in London, the country celebrated with much fanfare right from the British to the Kenyan capital and Nakuru County.
After the festivities in Nakuru town, the then serving Nakuru County governor Kinuthia Mbugua escorted Faith Kipyegon to her parent’s home in Ndabibit village in Keringet, Kuresoi South, Nakuru County.
However, the governor didn’t like what he saw and issued a decree on two things, for the road leading to Kipyegon’s parents to be upgraded and their house be installed with electricity.
Fast forward, now with two Olympic and world 1,500m titles, Kipyegon didn't have one thing in her overflowing trophy cabinet...a world record.
At State House, Nairobi on Tuesday, the history-making Kipyegon broke down in tears.
The 29-year-old mother of one had not only managed to fulfill her dream of owning a world record to firmly cement her status as the Greatest of All Times, but also delivered her promise.
When Kipyegon left for the Florence Diamond League meet on June 2, she promised her father that she would buy him the car of his dreams if she broke the world record.
And Kipyegon got more than she had bargained for by breaking the 1,500m and 5,000m world records in Italy and France respectively.
Kipyegon was the first Kenyan to benefit from the government’s new reward scheme launched by President William Ruto to athletes where any athlete breaking the world record would get Sh5 million.
Kipyegon got a cheque of Sh5 million and key to a three-board room house with Sh 6 million in Park Road, Nairobi for breaking two world records within a week. The President awarded Commonwealth and Africa 100m champion Ferdinand Omanyala for his exploits in the Diamond League.
Kipyegon set a new world record as well as the national record in 1,500m when she won the Florence Diamond League on June 2 in 3:49.11 before breaking the 5,000m world record a week later with an explosive victory in 14:05.20 in the Paris Diamond League.
While it’s the first gesture in the country for athletes breaking world records to be awarded cash and houses, Ethiopian and Ugandan athletes have over the years benefited from their governments.
It has been a good boon for Kipyegon since besides getting Sh11 m from the government, she has harvested Sh18.07 million from her exploits in the Diamond League so far with more set to come.
Kipyegon will earn US$ 30,000 (Sh4.17m) from her victories in Doha (1,500m), Florence (1,500m) and Paris (5,000m) and an additional bonus of US 100,000 (Sh 13.9m) for her two world records.
“When I left for Italy, I promised my father that I would buy him a car if I broke the world record. I did it and I am so happy,” said Kipyegon, who broke down in tears when she told her parents, a gesture that also left the President emotional.
“I thought I would buy it from my world record breaking earnings but this is shocking and surprising to me,” Kipyegon said. “It’s so special and humbling that I can honour my promise, not in Keringet, but at the State House, the most prestigious house on land.”
Kipyegon was also flanked by her husband, 2012 London Olympics 800m bronze medallist Timothy Kitum and her daughter Alyne.
"From today, any Kenyan who participates in a world event and breaks a world record, unlike in the past, will be recognised through cash rewards,” said Ruto.