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Sammy Kipketer, KEN

Sammy Kipketer (right) passes Ben Limo to win the Commonwealth Games 2002 5000m title in Manchester. (Getty Images)

Full Name: Sammy Kipketer
Born: 29 September 1981, (Rokocho, near Kaptarakwa, Keiyo District, Rift Valley Province, Kenya)
Sex:  Male
Lives: Lives mainly in Nairobi and in Merewit, Uasin Gishu District. Based in London during track season.
Event: 5000m, 10000 m, cross country
Coach: Jimmy Beauttah
Manager:  Duncan Gaskell, KIM
Manager:  Duncan Gaskell, KIM
Occupation: Army private, enlisted 2001.

PIC 

Personal Bests: 

3000m
7:33.62
2001
5000m
12:54.07 
2000
Rome, Italy
10,000m
26:49.38
2002
Brussels

PIC

- 1996

Fourth of six children. Father a farmer with five acres.

Began running casually in primary school. Discovered talent on moving up secondary, where he had to run to escape harassment by older boys.

1997

Finished 4th at 5000m in 1997 schools nationals.

1998

Finished 17th in 1998 Junior World Cross-country trials.

Trained in earnest after leaving Lelboinet Secondary School at end of 1998.

1999

2nd in 1999 Junior World Cross-country trials, then 6th in Belfast World Cross.

Signed by KIM after 1999 World Cross-country trials. Immediately embarked on busy competitive schedule, mainly on track, including Grand Prix final and six of seven Golden League meets, where he recorded five top-5 finishes and the third best all-time junior mark at 5000m (12:58.10 in Oslo GL), plus two marks under the listed World Junior Record at 3000m (7:35.08 in Paris GL; 7:34.58 in Brussels GL).

2000

Began 2000 with two wins on European cross-country circuit and a silver medal just behind a determined John Kibowen in senior 4 km race at World Cross in Vilamoura. A week later, obliterated eight-year-old 5 km road best in Carlsbad, California (13:00, down from William Mutwol's 13:12, also set in Carlsbad). Missed qualifying for Sydney Olympic team by 0.6 seconds in wait-and-kick Kenya trials 5000 final, but again distinguished himself on Grand Prix circuit, with seven top-3 finishes and a PR 12:54.07 at 5000 (then ranking him 9th all-time). Track & Field News put him at #2 at 5000 in its annual rankings.

2001

On successive weekends in spring 2001, just missed medaling (4th) in muddy Ostend in World Cross-country 4 km race, equaled own world road best winning Carlsbad 5 km and set new world road best at 10 km (27:18) in Brunssum, Netherlands. Second at 5000 in Kenyan World Championship trials. Ensured fast pace in Edmonton WC final by leading much of race, but faded in closing stages; crossed line 7th (later 6th after Saidi Sief doping DQ). Enlisted in Kenya Army on return from Edmonton.

2002

Emerged from Army basic training in time for 2002 Armed Forces Cross Country; won 4 km race and repeated victory in Kenyan World Cross trials. Finished 4th at 4 km in Dublin World Cross-country. A week later improved own 10 km world road best (27:11) in New Orleans), then won Carlsbad 5 km the next week. At African Military Championships in Nairobi, won 5000, 2nd in 10,000. Busy Grand Prix season interrupted by Commonwealth Games trials in Nairobi (3rd, 5000) and Games in Manchester, where he collected first big international gold medal. Won Zurich GL 5000 in year's second-fastest time (12:56.99) and recorded year's fastest 10.000 (26:49.38) in Brussels in first international race at the distance. Ranked #1 in 10,000, #2 in 5000 and #5 in 3000 by T&FN, a display of range bettered only by Haile Gebrselassie in recent years.

He experimented with the 25-lap distance on the track early in the 2002 season, taking second in the African Military Games in Nairobi and winning the Kenya Armed Forces Championship.

2003

Moved up in distance for 2003 cross country season, winning Armed Forces 12 km and fading to 4th in Kenya's  World Cross-country trials after pushing the pace a little too hard on hot day. He will certainly be among the leaders in Lausanne.

In the Van Damme Golden League meet in Brussels at the end of August, Kipketer pulled four men under 27 minutes and recorded the event's best time in four years (26:49.38), vaulting to 5th on the all-time list in his first serious attempt at the distance.

Sammy Kipketer thinks he has finally found his distance. "I have done well at other events," he told the IAAF's correspondent Phil Minshull, "but I always suspected that 10,000 was going to be my distance, especially after I ran so well on the roads."

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