Geoffrey Ole Ketere
Narok residents turned up in big numbers to welcome Itanao Leshan, who won a gold medal in 400 metres, at the recently-concluded Easter Africa Youth Championships held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania last month.
Business in the town, and Ololulunga commercial centre specifically, came to a standstill when Leshan arrived in a convoy of 10 vehicles yesterday.
Accompanying the 18-year-old were nominated MCA Christine Lemein, Narok branch Athletics Kenya official Stephen Marai, Olive Academy director Dominic Kimiriny among others.
“When I was selected for the competition, I was to represent the country in javelin but I decided to change to 400 metres. I realised my opponents were weak and went for the win,” said Leshan, who is now eyeing global competitions so that he could test himself against the very best around the world.
While congratulating Leshan for his heroics, Kimiriny urged the youth to learn from him and take their talents seriously.
“Everybody has potential to be a world beater in athletics. This is not like football where you play as a team. In athletics, you need personal effort and self-motivation. That it is the only way you will break a world record,” said Kimiriny.
Marai is also encouraged by Leshan’s victory, saying he has proved that Narok is rich with athletics talent and it is time the county government invested heavily in the sector.
Narok is home to some of Kenya’s big athletics names past and present including former two-time 800m world champion Billy Konchellah, reigning Olympic and world 800m record holder David Rudisha and world 1,500m champion Elijah Manangoi.