Jemima Sumgong is the name you will see on the headlines across the world as she is the winner of 2016 women’s marathon at Rio Brazil.
She claimed gold for team Kenya after 2 hours 24 minutes with a victory fist pump. 26 seconds later Kirwa (former Kenyan citizen who switched to Bahrain) crossed the line second and Ethiopia’s world champion Mare Dibaba settled for bronze medal.
Placing team Kenya on the gold category did not come easy. Sumgong has to endure temperatures of 80 degrees on the famous Sambodromo route where Rio carnival parade happens each year. There was little or no shade for the athletes as they ran in the streets, parks, round the city and some began to strain during the early stages of the race. Over 20 of the athletes taking part in the race ended with a DNF (Did Not Finish) due to various reasons besides the heat.
In an interesting twist of the event, Sumgong evaded a track invader who tried to rush to her. The man crossed the barriers and tried to grab Sumgong but security got to him in time. She told reporters that she thought of the London marathon in April where same type of incident occurred. She said she was scared of what would have happened if he got hold of her.
Sumgong attributes her win to her prior preparation to Rio and her body maintained so well throughout the race. “It was very hot but everybody got through the heat. I had to control my body and listen to my body very carefully” she said. At 35 kilometers she was in still in shape and not showing fatigue. At 40 kilometers she says that gold was on her mind.
Sumgong’s win raised Team Kenya shine and the medal standing to 3, one gold and two silver medals. As more events happen later on we hope for the best from our team in Rio.