Tergat to use new IOC position to further spirit of Olympism
20 September 2013, 14:00
Nairobi - The former world marathon champion, Paul Tergat, who was recently confirmed as International Olympic Committee Council Member said Thursday he will use his new position to further the spirit of Olympism.
Tergat, who was nominated by the National Olympic Committee of Kenya and supported by the Africa Nations Olympic Committee Association (ANOCA), was officially endorsed by the IOC Session in Buenos Aires which was held from Sept. 7-10, alongside eight other nominees.
"When you are a sportsman you realize there are no barriers that are insurmountable. I will use my depth of experience to bring sports closer to the people," the former world marathon record holder said.
Tergat made the pledge in Nairobi during the launch of this year's Baringo Half Marathon scheduled for November 10.
The marathon, which is Tergat's brainchild, has in the past served as a springboard from where renowned athletes launched their careers.
The former five-time world cross country champion was nominated by NOCK in December 2012 to succeed another Kenyan Kipchoge Keino who retired as an IOC member.
Fondly referred to as the "gentleman of athletics", Tergat is remembered for winning a record five straight world cross country senior men's 12km title during his heyday between 1995 and 1997.
On track, Tergat is best remembered for his epic battles with Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie who on two occasions denied him an Olympic gold medal in the 10,000m, though the two remain close friends.
"The honor bestowed on me is a win for Kenya, Africa and the world at large. I will strive very hard to fulfill the task ahead."
He said he will soon outline his agenda on how he intends to execute his duties and hinted that workshops and seminars will form part of his strategies.
Tergat said the race was growing in stature and will soon graduate into a full marathon. "We have been walking and soon we will start running," he said as he gave an analogy of the stages in child growth.
Barnaba Kitilit, Chairman of Baringo County Athletics who are the organizers of the event said the region is endowed with talent that was only waiting to be tapped.
"There is a wealth of athletics talent in the area that will be unlocked by such opportunities like the Baringo Half Marathon."
Wesley Korir, winner of the 2012 Boston Marathon said the running became his life-changer. "My life changed because of running. Many champions have been discovered because of locally-staged races."
Korir, who is a member of the Kenyan National Assembly where he represents Cherangany Constituency in the west of the country, missed the Boston Marathon blasts earlier this year because they took place two hours after he had finished the event in which he placed fifth.
World 3,000m women's steeplechase champion and this year's Diamond League Champion, Milcah Chemos praised Tergat for being his motivation since 2000.
Winners of the event will pocket 1,200 U.S. dollars.
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