Kenya’s reputation as a sporting giant was rubber stamped during the decade, as the country embraced success and relevance at almost every turn. Here are some of the highlights:
1. Kipchoge’s INEOS record
Eluid Kipchoge made history as the first athlete to ever run a 42km marathon in less than two hours. He achieved the feat in Vienna, Austria this year, clocking a 1:59.40 timing in a record that had all eyes trained on both the marathoner and his country of birth. The performance also earned the athlete a Head of State Commendation, several awards and honourary doctorate degrees.
2. McDonald Mariga wins the UEFA Champions League
For all her sporting prowess, Kenya has always come short on the football pitch. But there was a ray of hope in 2010 when Kenyan star McDonald Mariga was signed by famed coach Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan in 2010. Months later, Mariga became the first-ever East African footballer to win the prestigious UEFA Champions League while playing alongside the world’s established stars including Samuel Eto’o, Diego Milito, Lucio, and Marco Materazzi.
3. Victor Wanyama signs for English Premier League club
Mariga’s achievement catapulted a positive reaction of sorts. Soon thereafter, his brother Victor Wanyama signed for Southampton and later on Tottenham Hotspur in 2016. The EPL is the most-watched football league in Kenya, and the world. So, Wanyama’s emergence literally introduced Kenyan football to the international stage.
4. Harambee Stars qualification for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations
Kenya’s national football team qualified for the continental football showpiece after missing out of seven editions over 15 years. The emergence of Kenya among 13-other teams at the tournament in Egypt, and, listening to the Kenya national anthem at the tournament was an exciting, emotional and historic venture.
5. Kenya 7s triumph
The Kenya national sevens rugby team won its first international title, beating Fiji 30-7 to win the Singapore Series. It took Kenya 140 tournaments to break the duck and the feat was so encouraging and exciting to both President Uhuru Kenyatta, himself an ex-rugby player, and the rest of the country.
6. David Rudisha breaks two world records in a week
In 2010, the 800m star runner underlined Kenya’s prowess in athletics by twice breaking the race record inside a week.
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