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BMW and cash for India's Silver medallist, electricity for Kenya's Gold medallist

India Today logo India Today 01-09-2016

While India bestowed cash rewards, luxury cars and land on their two medallists at the Rio Olympics, another story was unfolding in Kenya, where a Gold medallist came back to her village.

When Faith Kipyegon left Kenya to participate in the Rio Olympics, little did she know that her performance at the quadrennial mega-event will give her nondescript village a new lease of life. Kipyegon won the women's Olympic 1,500 meters after unleashing a devastating burst in the second half of the race that left Ethiopia's world record holder Genzebe Dibaba trailing in her wake.

Kipyegon, fastest in the world this year, sat in a pack that virtually jogged the opening stages before she and Dibaba pulled clear with a 56.8-second lap around the halfway mark that scattered the field. But right at the time when the shining 22-year-old was setting the Olympic Stadium in Rio on fire, the little-known Ndabibit Village in Nakuru County - where she comes from - was in complete darkness.

There has been no electricity in the village since the early 1980s and even her father could not follow the race.

However, soon after Kipyegon's victory, her father, Samuel Koech Kipyegon, made a plea to Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Photos: Best quotes from 2016 Rio Olympics

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt won his third straight 100-meter Olympic gold with a time of 9.81 seconds. He finished well ahead of the American Justin Gatlin and Canada's Andre de Grasse, who settled for the silver and bronze medals respectively. Best quotes from 2016 Rio Olympics

"I urge President Uhuru Kenyatta to make sure our village is connected to electricity so that I can see my daughter Faith running and winning medals for Kenya," Koech was quoted as saying by the Daily Nation.

And his players got an instant answer.

The Kenyan power team reached the village a day after the plea was made and constructed the power line in record nine days, much to the relief of the residents. Scores of villagers flocked to the Kipyegon resident to witness the switching on of electricity.

With electricity, came some goodies for the Kipyegon household. Samsung has promised a flat screen Television set while SuperSport is giving them a decoder.

"I only thank God for giving me such a wonderful daughter who has transformed our village and I pray to God to give her strength and good health so that she can win more medals for Kenya," said a beaming Koech.


Contrast this what India did for Silver medallist PV Sindhu and Bronze medallist Sakshi Malik. Both girls were heaped with cash rewards, they got a BMW car each and acres of land. Not just the medallists, gymnast Dipa Karmakar, who finished fourth in the women's vaults, bagged a luxury car as did Pullela Gopichand, Sindhu's coach.

In fact, the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governments were involved in a bitter battle over who could stake claim over Sindhu, based in Hyderabad.

Many in the country have argued that the money spent on rewards for Sindhu and Sakshi could have been spent on training aspiring Olympians. Others believe the two women deserved their riches. But Kenya's Kipyegon should open the eyes of everyone watching the drama around our Rio heroes back home.

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