Considering that he added a 5000m Olympic gold and 10000m silver to the 5,000m and 10,000m world records, that dream should not be far from realization.
Cheptegei made the remarks after the National Council of Sports (NCS) and the sports ministry rewarded Olympians and paralympians that participated in the Tokyo games.
“My dream is to make this country a running nation. I want the young people to be motivated so that they can take on sport and showcase their talents to the world,” Cheptegei revealed.
He also called for a change in perception with sport often regarded as a leisure activity.
“Sports is not just leisure. It is business and young people can learn that you can earn from sport. I want to set a path that other young children can follow,” added Cheptegei.
For his exploits Cheptegei took home a combined cash prize of Shs80m for the gold and silver medals he earned in Tokyo.
“We prioritized rewarding athletes as one of the ways of promoting sports,” NCS General Secretary Dr Bernard Patrick Ogwel stated in his opening remarks.
The country’s other gold medalist from Tokyo, Peruth Chemutai, was rewarded with Shs50m while Jacob Kiplimo who won bronze in the 10,000m received Shs20m.
“My advice to the athletes is that this is your time but there is a saying that ‘athletes come and go’ so endeavour to invest and save wisely,” Minister of state for sport Hamson Obua advised the athletes who hailed the move
“My life does not remain the same. It is also motivation that I can go on and break the world record. And also motivates young athletes in the north to follow in my footsteps,” Emong noted.
Each of these received another Shs1m in addition to their allowances which were paid in July.
In 2018, the agency paid out Shs100m for medals won at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast Australia but there’s no reward and recognition policy in place yet.
(5000m gold, 10000m silver)- Shs80m
(3000m steeplechase gold) – Shs50m
(10000m bronze) – Shs20m
(1500 metres T46 bronze) – Shs20m
Olympians and Paralympians- Shs1m