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President Ruto rewards Faith Kipyegon for breaking world records

Fresh from breaking the 1,500m and 5,000m world records, Faith Kipyegon has been awarded Sh5 million and a house worth Sh 6 million by President William Ruto.

Kipyegon set a new world record in 1,500m on June 3, 2023, after clocking 3:49:11 at the Florence Diamond League in Italy. The previous record of 3:50:07 had been set by Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba in 2015.

Then a week later (June 10, 2023), she broke the 5,000m world record at Paris Diamond League where she ran 14:05:20, to smash the previous world record of 14:06:62 which was set by Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia in July 2020.

President Ruto made the announcement at State House, Nairobi on Tuesday when he host Kenyan athletes – among them Commonwealth 100m champion Ferdinand Omanyala – for breakfast.

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“I want to congratulate Faith for being an example of what discipline and consistency is. Our sports men and women brand Kenya worldwide more than any other branding happens. We want to honour and reward them accordingly,” President Ruto said.

The house which Kipyegon has been gifted is a three bedroomed apartment in Park Road, Nairobi.

Omanyala, on his part, received Sh 2 million for finishing second in Paris and third in Florence in the 100m races.

The President Ruto said the government will award athletes with Sh5million for breaking a world record. He also proposed that athletes who excel on the international stage should be given diplomatic passports and other honours.

“The new scheme covers the entire spectrum or sports and creative. Under this scheme, we are going to have a whole new package. I want to the Ministry to finalize the package of what kind of reward scheme is going to accompany our sports men and women and creatives; and I will be launching that scheme shortly so that they can know how the government of Kenya is going to stand with them when they shine,” the President said.

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President Ruto further said, through Talanta Hela, the government is keen on monetizing sports, art, music and the creative economy so that it begins speaking the language of monetary gain for millions of Kenyans who are involved in these sectors.

Kipyegon happily received the gifts, saying she hadn’t expected to break the two world records.

“I’m excited and feel appreciated from my heart. Thank you all. I was not expecting to break the world record 5,000m. Kenyans in Paris really cheered me and helped me. I would also like to thank my family. I don’t know what to say. Let me just say thank you for the warm welcome,” she said.

She said with the cash prize she has received, she will buy a car for her father. She acknowledged the fact that she is first athlete invited to address the press from State House under the new reward scheme. She also hoped to inspire other athletes to great achievements by running clean and build Kenya’s image abroad.

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