Rodgers Kiprop was poised to defend the gold medal for the visually impaired athletes that Kenya won at Rio 2016 through Samwel Muchai but failed as Brazilian Yeltsin Jacques beat them on Friday morning to bag gold in the 5000m T11 at the ongoing 2020 Tokyo Paralympics Games.
The race which had been pitted to be a battle ground between the Japanese para-athlete Kenya Karasawa against Kiprop and Wilson Bii, but it took a wrong turn when the local favourite wilted late on under Jacques’ onslaught to settle for silver in 15:18.12 with his compatriot Shinya Wada closing the first three podium finishes in 15:21.03.
Kiprop was on fire but with three laps when he ran out of gas under the sweltering heat inside Tokyo Olympic Stadium to finish fourth.
Kiprop said he lacked the kick to bring home gold adding that the heat undermined their tactical approach as Bii also finished last in the 5000m T11 clash.
“I take home a lot of lessons from Tokyo being that it was my first time to represent Kenya at this level,” Kiprop said after the race.
“This is a message also to my fellow Kenyans with whatever disability that the Paralympics is the ultimate stage. They can make it like I have come here.
“The Paralympics offers great opportunities and so as a country let us bring forward those athletes with different impairments to try take a sport they would like to participate in,” Kiprop said.
Bii finished a distant ninth place in 17:31.73
5000m T11 MEN
- Yeltsin Jacques (BRA) 15:13.62
- Kenya Karasawa (JPN) 15:18.12
- Shinya Wada (JPN) 15:21.03
- Rodgers Kiprop (KEN) 15:26.06
- Rosbil Gullen (PER) 15:35.82