- Emmanuel Wanyonyi was brought up in abject poverty and dropped out of school in class three in order to fend for himself.
- The 18 year old, now a form two student was employed as a herdsboy in a silent village located in Trans-Nzoia County.
At only 18 years old, Emmanuel Wanyonyi has already shaped his athletic career and obviously has a luminous future ahead of him. The daring teenager is the current 800m junior world champion who recently beat legends like Botswana athlete Nigel Amos to clinch gold at the Diamond League held in Rabat. Wanyonyi finished the two lap race at an impressive time of one minute 45.47 seconds.
But before he made headlines, Wanyonyi was a mere herdsboy who had dropped out of school due to biting poverty. This article will feature the inspirational journey of the young athlete.
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Raised in a family of 12
The 800m is the seventh in a family of 12. He was born in Saboti, Trans-Nzoia County. As a young boy, he dropped out of school in class 3 in order to be employed as a herdsboy because his parents couldn’t afford basic needs. He worked for several years before his talent got noticed when he took to a nearby primary school playground to run.
“Sometimes, I would use the track on the primary school nearby and one time some teachers saw me training hard and asked me to go back to school so that I would represent them at the track and field games.” Wanyonyi told runblogrun.com.
Through this, Wanyonyi earned a ticket to go back to class. While competing with his colleagues, he was simply unbeatable as he went on to win each and every race from 5000m, down to 400m. Wanyonyi was too fast for his compatriots and proceeded to represent the Rift Valley region at the national stage. The national primary school championships was the defining moment as he met the principal of Kosirai High School who invited him to join the school.
The Nandi County school is also known to have produced 3000m steeplechase king Conseslus Kipruto. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic was a dark cloud with a silver lining as the budding athlete concentrated on his running career.
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“Over the Corona period, we didn’t stop training. We continued all along despite the challenges,” said Eliud Kirarei who serves as Kosirai athletic coach.
Also Read: Top 10 Richest Athletes in Kenya
Bagging the first professional contract
In August, 2021, Wanyonyi raised the Kenyan flag high as he won gold in the U-20 world championship held in Kasarani. He finished the 800m race at a time of one minute 43.76 seconds. The athlete also earned his first professional contract. He owed his success to hardwork and self-discipline.
“I got the contract because of my hard work and self-discipline personal in training. God also helped and raised me. I prayed for the contract in order to assist my parents at home,” he told CGTN.
Eyeing David Rudisha’s Record
Emmanuel Wanyonyi idolises and has immense admiration for legendary 800m athlete David Rudisha. He is upbeat that he will one day smash the records held by his idol.
“I like running like David Rudisha. I watch his races and I have seen the way he won them. I would like to become like Rudisha and I see myself turning out like him,” says the form 2 student.