5 Races Kenya Will Be Under Pressure to Deliver at 2024 Paris Olympics

5 Races Kenya Will Be Under Pressure to Deliver at 2024 Paris Olympics

Edwin Kiplagat
March 15, 2024 at 8:47 AM
  • The 2024 Paris Olympics is edging closer
  • Kenya will be looking to clinch more gold medals
  • A few golds have eluded the East Africans

Kenya has dominated middle and long-distance athletics for decades, and only a handful of countries have challenged the East African nation.

At the 2024 Paris Olympics, Kenyan athletes will be seeking to assert their dominance in several disciplines on the track.

Kenyans have struggled to win a few races in the past, like the men's 10,000m, which Ethiopians have dominated.

Paul Tergat, Haile Gebrselassie, Kenya, Ethiopia, 2024 Paris Olympics, Pamela Jelimo, Faith Kipyegon, Eliud Kipchoge
Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie wins the 10,000m at the Sydney Olympics ahead of Kenya's Paul Tergat. Photo by Mike Hewitt.
Source: Getty Images

Kipchogye Keino, a pioneer in long-distance running in Kenya, ushered in an era of dominance for the East African country, and they've gotten better every decade.

They've produced icons such as Eliud Kipchoge, Pamela Jelimo, Faith Kipyegon, and Ezekiel Kemboi, who've won multiple Olympic titles. Sports Brief looks at some races Kenyans will try to win after years of medal drought.

5 elusive gold medals for Kenya

Men's 10,000m

The gold medal has in this event has eluded Kenya for decades. Charles Kamathi was the last Kenyan to win a global title in the 10,000m. He did so in 2001. Since then, Kenya has struggled to win gold in the Olympics or the World Athletics Championships.

The late Naftali Temu won Kenya’s last 10,000m gold medal at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.

At the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Paul Tergat was close to ending the drought, but Ethiopia refused to lose. Ethiopia legend Haile Gebrselassie ended his rivalry with Tergat in the most outstanding way, per World Athletics.

The Ethiopian won gold with a margin of 0.09 seconds ahead of Tergat. It was Gebrselassie's second win over Tergat at the Olympics in the 10,000m.

Kenya lost agonisingly in the 1992 games in Barcelona as Richard Chelimo was beaten by Morocco's Khalid Skah, per Athletics Weekly.

Daniel Ebenyo, the world silver medalist, will be Kenya's biggest hope in Paris, in the distance. Can he end the drought?

Men's 3000m steeplechase

Morocco's Soufiane El Bakkali ended Kenya's dominance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Apart from the 1976 and 1980 Olympics, when Kenya boycotted the games, they had won 11 successive titles in the distance.

Defending champion Conseslus Kipruto was absent, and the streak was likely to end. The Moroccan also won the world title in 2023.

Therefore, the likes of Kipruto, Benjamin Kigen, Abraham Kibiwot, Leonard Kipkemoi, and Simon Koech will have to step up and challenge El Bakkali and Ethiopia's Lamecha Girma.

Women's 800m

18-year-old Pamela Jelimo won gold in the women's 800m at the 2009 Olympics in Beijing, becoming the first Kenyan woman to win a gold medal.

Since then, Kenyan women have struggled in the event. World champion Mary Moraa has a good chance of winning gold in the distance in Paris but will face tough competition from American Athing Mu, Britain's Keely Hodgkinson and Jemma Reekie.

Men's 1500m

Kipchoge Keino won gold in the distance in 1968. Peter Rono won gold in a memorable 1500m race at the Seoul Games.

Noah Ngeny defeated world record holder Hicham El Guerrouj to win gold and set the current Olympic record of 3:32.07 in Sydney.

Asbel Kiprop was given gold in 2008 despite finishing second in the race behind Rashid Ramzi, who was disqualified after a failed drug test. Gold has eluded Kenya since then.

The event is now dominated by Norway's Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Britain's Josh Kerr. Abel Kipsnag finished fourth in the world championships in 2023. Unless Ingebrigtsen and Kerr get injured, Kenya will unlikely win gold in Paris.

Men's 5,000m

Kip Keino and Naftali Temu were beaten in this event by Tunisia’s Mohamed Gammoudi at the 1968 Olympic Games.

John Ngugi won Kenya's only gold medal in the Olympics in 1988 in Seoul.

Kenyan female athletes have won seven gold medals, and none of them have come in the 10,000m

Kenya will look to send a star-studded team to Paris.

Omanyala's Olympic ambition

Sports Brief earlier reported on Kenyan sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala outlining his 2024 Olympics ambition.

Africa's fastest man reached the semi-finals of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and has solidified himself as one of the best sprinters of his generation in the last few years.

After years of disappointment, he's looking to win his first major medal in Paris.

Edwin Kiplagat photo
Edwin Kiplagat
Edwin Kiplagat has five years of experience in journalism working as a Sports Editor at Africa Insight Communications and ESPN. Edwin Kiplagat is a Bachelor's Degree holder in journalism from the Multimedia University of Kenya.