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Five Kenyan-born athletes selected in US-Olympics team

Five Kenyan-born athletes have made the cut in the United States of America (USA) team that is set to take part in the Tokyo Olympics.

The five include the US cross country champion and Rio Olympics 10,000 meters’ champion Shadrack Kipchirchir who will be flanked by 2018 US cross-country champion Leonard Korir, Hillary Bor, Stanley Kebenei, and Emmanuel Bor and are part of the 629-member US Olympic team.

Here is a brief profile of the five athletes.

1. Paul Chelimo – Chelimo, who hails from Iten in Elgeyo-Marakwet County, will represent the US in the men’s 5,000-metre run. The 30-year-old moved to the US to attend Shorter College, transferring to UNC-Greensboro. He attained US citizenship in 2014 by joining the US Army World Class Athlete Program. The Oregon resident has won three US national outdoor and four US national indoor titles.

2. Hillary Bor – Bor, 31, relocated to the US in 2007 to attend Iowa State University, where he qualified for the NCAA finals four years in a row and was second in 2009. He was initially thought to be too short to run the steeplechase due to its sturdy barriers and water jump but he proved his coach wrong. After college, Bor joined the Army, which provided a path to US citizenship in 2013.

3. Benard Keter – Like Bor, Keter will represent the US in the 3,000m steeplechase. The 29-year-old is also a member of the US Army World Class Athlete Program and trains with Bor in Colorado Springs. He hails from Molo, Nakuru County.

4. Aliphine Tuliamuk – Aliphine will represent the US in the women’s marathon at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The 32-year-old became a U.S. citizen in 2016 after competing for Wichita State University, where she was second in the NCAA 10,000 in 2012 and 2013. She has won 10 USATF titles from 5,000m through the marathon.

5. Sally Kipyego – She will appear in the women’s marathon alongside Aliphine. Sally, 35, dominated at Texas Tech University, becoming the first woman to win three straight NCAA cross country titles and the first Kenyan woman to win a crown. She also holds six other NCAA individual titles from 3,000 meters to 10,000 meters.

And in a related development, athletes will be forced to compete in the Olympics without fans, after the Japan government put the capital under a Covid-19 state of emergency owing to the rise of new infections.

Fans will also be banned from Tokyo-area stadiums and arenas when the Olympics begin in two weeks, the city’s governor said Thursday after meeting with organizers of the pandemic-postponed games.

That means the Olympics will be a largely TV-only event.

About 11,000 Olympians and 4,400 Paralympians are expected to enter Japan, along with tens of thousands of officials, judges, administrators, sponsors, broadcasters and media. The IOC says more than 80 percent of Olympic Village residents will be vaccinated.