Ronald Kwemoi overcomes hamstring injury to bag Paris Olympics ticket

Ronald Kwemoi

Ronald Kwemoi (222) leads Jacob Krop (216) to win 5000m men's final during Athletics Kenya Paris Olympics Trials on June 15, 2024, at Nyayo National Stadium.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

 The World under-20 1,500m record holder Ronald Kwemoi is back!

Kwemoi, 28, who has been battling recurring hamstring injuries, won the 5,000m final to book his ticket to a second Olympic Games appearance at the Kenyan trials for the Paris Games on Saturday at the Nyayo National Stadium.

It was all joy for Kwemoi, who atoned for his 10th place finish in the 10,000m trials for the Paris Olympics at the Prefontaine Classic two weeks ago to triumph and represent Kenya for the first time since 2019.

Kwemoi, who holds the U20 1,500m world record of 3:28.81 set in Monaco in 2014, made his Olympic debut at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio, finishing 13th in the 1,500m final.

 Kwemi, the 2014 Commonwealth Games 1,500m silver medallist, clocked 13:27.20 to edge 2022 World 5,000m silver medallist Jacob Krop into second place in 13:27.54 as the duo sealed an automatic berth to the Paris Olympics.

 "I've been battling with a hamstring injury since 2019 but I'm happy that everything is fine and I'm happy to be going to the Olympics for the second time," said Kwemoi. "I tried my luck in the 10,000m at Prefontaine but this feels great... Paris, here I come!"

Kwemoi said that he is determined and confident that they will end Kenya’s 36 years wait for a gold medal at the Olympics. John Ngugi is the first and last Kenyan to win an Olympic gold medal in 5,000m, a feat he achieved at the 1988 Seoul Games.

Explosive battle

Krop, who will be making his first Olympic showing, warned Kenya’s opponents to expect an explosive battle as he called for teamwork before the Games.

“I want to thank God for this performance today and I am glad to make Team Kenya once again,” said Krop, who claimed silver in 5,000m at the 2022 world championships in Eugene, USA, before settling for bronze at a similar event in Budapest, Hungary last year.

“I think it’s about time to upgrade to something better and more prestigious and that can only happen at the Olympics,” said Krop, the 2022 Commonwealth Games 5,000m bronze medallist.

Silver medals

The best performance from Kenya since Ngugi’s exploits were the silver medals from Paul Bitok at the 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta, and Eliud Kipchoge’s silver at the 2008 Beijing Games.

The last medal from the Games was Thomas Longosiwa’s bronze in 2012 London.

National 400m hurdles champion Wiseman Were, who has already qualified for the Paris Olympics, won the men’s 400m hurdles race in 48.72 as Moitalel Mpoke and Kipkorir Rotich fell short in 49.92 and 50.73 respectively. Were is the only athlete who has qualified in the event.

National 400m champion Mercy Chebet claimed victory in women’s 400m in 51.70 but failed to qualify as Africa 400m bronze medallist Veronica Mutua clocked 51.99 for second place.