Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

Kenya champions of Africa

2008-09-05 05:38

Nairobi - Kenya was on Monday basking in the warm afterglow of its most successful Olympics ever with 14 medals, including five gold.

Samuel Wanjiru's Sunday victory in the marathon - Kenya's first ever Olympic gold in the discipline - topped off the display, leaving Kenya 15th in the overall medals table, three places ahead of rival and closest African nation Ethiopia.

Kenya was particularly proud of its female athletes, with Pamela Jelimo and Nancy Jebet Langat bringing home the first Olympic golds for Kenyan women in the 800m and 1 500m respectively.

"It was remarkable that Kenyan women athletes won two gold medals," President Mwai Kibaki said in a statement. "Your victory and that of your male compatriots has brought glory to the country."

All of Kenya's medals came on the track and Monday's edition of the Daily Standard said that "Kenyan runners ruled the games."

The Daily Nation ran with "Glory! Glory! Glory!" as its headline, and already began looking forward to the 2012 London Olympics, where many of the young athletes - Jelimo is only 18 and Wanjiru 21 - will be expected to perform once more.

The athletes will hand over the national flag to Kibaki on Friday in the coastal town of Mombasa in a ceremony to welcome them home and celebrate their success.

Gold medal winners will receive 1.75 million Kenyan shillings ($25 500), a huge windfall for athletes such as Jelimo, who came from humble beginnings.


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