USA Olympic Tennis Team

Posted July 26th, 2016 at 1:41 pm (UTC-4)
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Olympic tennis player Sloane Stevens of the USA in action at the Citi Open in Washington. Photo: Bill Workinger / Voice of America

Olympic tennis player Sloane Stevens of the USA in action at the Citi Open in Washington. Photo: Bill Workinger / Voice of America

While some of the world’s top golfers have withdrawn from next week’s Rio Games because of concerns about the Zika virus, members of the USA’s Olympic tennis team are looking forward to playing in Brazil.

Sloane Stephens and Steve Johnson will both be making their Olympic debuts in Rio de Janeiro. The 23-year-old Stephens is currently ranked 23rd in the women’s world tennis rankings, while the 26-year-old Johnson is at number-21 in the men’s rankings.

Both players competed at the recent Citi Open hard court tournament here in Washington. The tennis action in Rio will also be on a hard court surface, providing the players with a good warm-up for the U.S. Open in New York in late August, the year’s final Grand Slam event.

In an interview with my Voice of America colleague Bill Workinger, Sloane Stephens talked about the thrill of going to her first Olympics.

Sloane Stephens describes the USA’s Olympic women’s tennis team as “pretty strong and pretty deep.” The squad is led by world number-one and four-time Olympic champion Serena Williams, who won her seventh Wimbledon singles title earlier this month.

In addition, Serena teamed with her older sister, Venus, to win her sixth Wimbledon doubles crown. The Williams sisters have won gold medals in women’s doubles at the past two Olympics, while Serena is also the defending Olympic champion in women’s singles. However, there are injury concerns about Serena ahead of Rio 2016 – she pulled out of this week’s Rogers Cup tournament in Canada because of shoulder inflammation.

The USA’s Olympic men’s tennis team also has a formidable duo in doubles, the twin brothers and defending Olympic champions Bob and Mike Bryan. Brian Baker, Dennis Kudla, Steve Johnson and Jack Sock will play singles, while Sock and Johnson will also play doubles. Like Sloane Stephens, Johnson is very excited about competing at his first Olympics.

A total of 172 players are expected to challenge for medals at the Olympic Tennis Center in Rio de Janeiro. Action begins August 6th, with the women’s singles final August 13th and the men’s singles final August 14th.

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

South African Golf Star Ernie Els

Posted June 30th, 2016 at 6:15 pm (UTC-4)
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Ernie Els begins play at the first tee during the final round of the Quicken Loans National at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. (photo by Bill Workinger / Voice of America)

Ernie Els begins play at the first tee during the final round of the Quicken Loans National at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Bill Workinger / Voice of America)

“I love the game, you know,” says 46-year-old South African golf star Ernie Els, “and I want to still play at a high level.”

Els showed he can still play at a high level at the recent Quicken Loans National tournament at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C.

Els was seeking his first PGA win since 2012. He was a strong contender for the title until the final round, when he shot a one-over-par 72, and finished five strokes behind the winner, American Billy Hurley III.

Hurley is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, a short drive

Ernie Els signs autographs after the third round of the Quicken Loans National at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. (photo by Bill Workinger / Voice of America)

Ernie Els signs autographs after the third round of the Quicken Loans National at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Bill Workinger / Voice of America)

from Bethesda, and he earned cheers from the crowd for his first ever PGA tournament victory.

Ernie Els, meanwhile, also earned cheers from the fans throughout the tournament.

He’s a member at Congressional, where he won the U.S. Open in 1997, and Ernie could be seen signing autographs and giving fans fist bumps as he walked the course.

In an interview with my VOA colleague Bill Workinger, Els said returning to Congressional is a special experience, and he vividly remembers winning his second U.S. Open championship on the course almost 20 years ago.

Ernie Els tees off on the seventh hole during the third round of the Quicken Loans National at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. (photo by Bill Workinger / Voice of America)

Ernie Els tees off on the seventh hole during the third round of the Quicken Loans National at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Bill Workinger / Voice of America)

 

At the end of the interview, Ernie said he played “some good golf” at Congressional.

During his 27-year professional career, Els has played some great golf, winning four major championships – two U.S. Open titles (1994 and 1997) and two British Open trophies (in 2002 and 2012).

The man nicknamed “The Big Easy” says he feels fine physically and believes he still has something to offer the game.

He also loves the game, and passion for anything in life is an intangible quality that can result in some wonderful victories.

So don’t rule out Ernie Els winning another major before his playing days come to an end.

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

Refugee Athletes at the Rio Olympics

Posted June 7th, 2016 at 3:50 pm (UTC-4)
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James Nyang Chiengjiek is training for the Rio Olympics in Brazil.

James Nyang Chiengjiek is training for the Rio Olympics in Brazil.

The International Olympic Committee recently announced its first Refugee Olympic Team, which will compete at the Rio Games in August.

The 10 refugee athletes – five from South Sudan, two from Syria, two from the Democratic Republic of Congo and one from Ethiopia – are being described as some of the most inspiring athletes going to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

James Nyang Chiengjiek is from South Sudan and he will compete in the men’s 800-meters race in Rio. He says he fled from war in his country.

“My Dad was killed in the war,” says Chiengjiek. “So I was living with my Mum. So the soldiers were looking for people who can join the army and even if you are 10-years-old they can recruit you to join them. So I saw that I am not ready to join them, so it is better that I look for somewhere else to go to, so I ran away.”

Chiengjiek ended up at Kakuma Refugee Camp in northwestern Kenya, where he says he discovered his love of running.

James Nyang Chiengjiek and the nine other refugee athletes will march at the opening ceremony for the Olympics on August 5th at the Maracana Stadium in Rio.

The Olympic flag will lead the Refugee Olympic Team and the Olympic anthem will be played in their honor.

James Nyang Chiengjiek rests during a training session.

In a symbolic sense, they will be marching for all refugees.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, says their participation in the Olympics is a tribute to the courage and perseverance of all refugees in overcoming adversity and building a better future for themselves and their families.

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

Who is Kei Kamara?

Posted March 22nd, 2016 at 2:07 pm (UTC-4)
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Kei Kamara of Sierra Leone Photo: Jay LaPrete/AP

Kei Kamara of Sierra Leone
Photo: Jay LaPrete/AP

Who is Kei Kamara? That seems easy enough. He is a Major League Soccer (MLS) player from Sierra Leone.  That’s not wrong, but there’s more. Though soccer is a big part of his life, there’s more to Kamara than just what you see on the field. He is a fierce competitor, a loving father, a world-class humanitarian, and an entertainer.

Last season, Kei Kamara tied for most goals in MLS with 22 in the regular season and was top goalscorer in the playoffs with four. He was named Columbus Crew SC’s most valuable player and to the MLS best 11 team.

You can never accuse him of not giving his all. Once he steps on that field, he is in attack mode.  Columbus made it all the way to the MLS Cup final last season, but lost 2-1 to the Portland Timbers. Kamara scored the Crew’s only goal. “I enjoy the game, I want to play, I want to score goals, but right now my focus is just winning a cup,” said Kei, talking about his goals for this season. The Cup is the main goal for Kamara.

Kei Kamara in action in a MLS match. Photo: Bill Kostroun/AP

Kei Kamara in action in a MLS match. Photo: Bill Kostroun/AP

2015 was an eventful year for him off the field as well. Kei had his first child last year with wife Kristin Kamara.  “They say when you have a girl you treat her like a princess and that’s what I’m doing. She gets the best side of me, the soft side of me,” Kamara said.

Kei believes his daughter is helping him get more rest this season, since he goes home more often to lay low with his family. In Africa, there is a strong emphasis on family, and Kamara considers the start of his own family as his greatest achievement thus far.

Kei Kamara battles for the ball during the 2015 MLS Cup final. Photo: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Kei Kamara battles for the ball during the 2015 MLS Cup final. Photo: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015 MLS Works Humanitarian of the Year award was given to Kei.  You don’t win this award by doing the bare minimum.  You win it by servicing the community and showing excellence on the field.  This is exactly what Kamara did last season.

“It’s an honor to be recognized as a humanitarian. To me it’s not a job, I’m just being myself. Helping out here in America and helping out in Sierra Leone,” Kei said talking about the award’s meaning to him.  He has been working with the Schools for Salone initiative since 2005.  This program has been working to rebuild schools in war-torn areas of Sierra Leone. To date, 16 schools have been built and two libraries.

Let’s shift the subject back to the field. One could argue that Kamara has some of the best goal celebrations in MLS. He uses props, dances, and gets his teammates involved.  With the amount of scoring he did last season there was plenty to celebrate.

“It’s just part of my personality. I love to dance, I love to have fun, and I love to connect with my teammates,” Kamara said when discussing his celebrations.

Kei Kamara has one of the most vibrant personalities in the league.  He is a star and he is not afraid to shine.  Although Columbus Crew SC is off to a slow start, with two losses and a draw, there is more than enough time to recover.

It’s far too early to tell if the Sierra Leonean veteran will eclipse his accomplishments from last season, but he is at a good pace with one goal after three games played.  The focus is there for him and he is more than up to the challenge.  Columbus will be in action again April 2nd, looking to get their first win against FC Dallas.

This blog post was written by VOA Intern Rick Narcisse. Listen to Rick’s interview with Kei Kamara:

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

Malian Player Diallo and March Madness

Posted March 16th, 2016 at 12:11 pm (UTC-4)
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March Madness Logo 2The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has once again tipped off its 68-team Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament to determine the 2016 national champion.

Most of the competition is played in March and due to its unpredictable nature, it’s nicknamed “March Madness.”

The single-elimination tournament, staged at venues across the country, is one of the most popular sporting events in the United States. It will culminate April fourth when the national title game is played in Houston, Texas.

Playing in what many would argue is the toughest league in the country, the Kansas University “Jayhawks” managed to win the regular season and conference titles in the Big 12.  With a record of 30 wins and four losses, they earned a No. 1 seed for the NCAA tournament.

Kansas will bid for a fourth national title with an experienced and proven team. The Jayhawks feature NBA draft candidates like Wayne Selden Jr., and Perry Ellis, and a few players who will need more time to develop, like Cheick Diallo.

Cheick Diallo goes up for a dunk against Loyola (Md.). Photo: Charlie Riedel/AP

Cheick Diallo goes up for a dunk against Loyola (Md.). Photo: Charlie Riedel/AP

From Mali, to New York, to Kansas, former five-star recruit Diallo is preparing for his first NCAA tournament. The 19-year-old freshman did not have the season KU fans were expecting, but with time and development, they look forward to more production from the African forward.

Diallo did not start playing basketball until 2010 due to his love for soccer.  He viewed basketball as a girls sport.  Now standing 6-feet-9 (2.06 m), Cheick simply outgrew the sport of soccer.

In high school, Diallo played at Our Savior New American School in Long Island, New York. He attracted attention from top colleges and universities for his rebounding, shot-blocking and versatility, and earned MVP honors at some prestigious high school all-star games. His first season at Kansas, though, was delayed due to an NCAA investigation of his education and background.

When he was finally declared eligible, he would go on to have his best offensive game against Loyola University (Md.). He scored 13 points, grabbed six rebounds, and blocked three shots.

 

 

Since the Loyola game, Cheick Diallo has reached double digit points only once.  He did have a near double-double against Texas Christian University, scoring nine points and grabbing nine rebounds.

The sky certainly is the limit for Cheick Diallo. He has the physical tools and plays under Bill Self, who is considered one of college basketball’s best coaches. The Jayhawks will play their opening game in the championship tournament Thursday (March 17th) against Austin Peay State University.

Print your brackets, pick your teams, and let’s get ready for the madness that is March.

This blog post was written by VOA Intern Rick Narcisse.

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

Ghana’s Nyarko Ready For New Season With D.C. United

Posted March 4th, 2016 at 3:22 pm (UTC-4)
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Patrick Nyarko and VOA's Rick Narcisse

Patrick Nyarko and VOA’s Rick Narcisse

With the Major League Soccer season right around the corner, there will be many players lacing up for a new team.

That list of players includes D.C. United’s newly acquired midfielder, Patrick Nyarko. I had the honor of sitting down with him to talk about his future in the nation’s capital.

The 30-year-old Nyarko was born in Kumasi, Ghana, where he lived up until his college years.

He moved to the United States to attend Virginia Tech, where he studied psychology and dominated on the field.

Patrick finished his college career third all-time in goals (31) and assists (24) and fourth in total points (86) at Virginia Tech. He left the school after three years and turned pro with the Chicago Fire, where he played for the last eight seasons.

Patrick Nyarko (L) in action for Virginia Tech. Photo: Sara D. Davis/AP

Patrick Nyarko (L) in action for Virginia Tech. Photo: Sara D. Davis/AP

Funny enough, Patrick did not grow up thinking he would make a career out of the sport.  “Growing up I was a really good student…I was going to go to college in Ghana to do some sort of engineering,” Nyarko says, while reflecting on his journey thus far.

Good thing former Virginia Tech head coach Oliver Weiss went on that recruiting trip to Ghana. Weiss describes Nyarko as the most incredible player he’s ever coached.

The Chicago Fire traded Nyarko to D.C. United in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2016 MLS Super Draft.

“After a while in one place you tend to go through the motions,” says Nyarko on the big move. “I needed a change to refocus myself and ended up in D.C. this year.”

Patrick Nyarko leaps for the ball while playing for the Chicago Fire. Photo: Mike Cassese/Reuters

Patrick Nyarko leaps for the ball while playing for the Chicago Fire. Photo: Mike Cassese/Reuters

Washington D.C. isn’t unfamiliar territory to Patrick since he went to school five hours away.  He says he spent some of his college breaks in nearby Alexandria, Virginia, which is only a 30-minute drive from the capital.

Looking forward to this year, the Ghanaian veteran aims to win the MLS Cup. Nyarko missed much of the 2015 season because of a knee injury. He says he feels stronger and through his rehab he has put himself in a good position to have a better season this year.  “There are a lot of smart and experienced guys on the team and I’m here to help,” said Nyarko.

You can bet one of the big matches on his radar this year will be against the Fire. “It will be good going back to Chicago…they treated me really well and I had a good relationship with them.  It was hard to leave but I’m excited,” Nyarko said with a huge smile on his face.

Patrick has enjoyed his time in the league playing against stars he looked up to growing up.  “For my three favorite soccer players of all time, I have Thierry Henry, Ryan Giggs and Steven Gerrard.  I’ve had the opportunity to play against two of them and might have an opportunity to play against the third one this Sunday,” he said.  Steven Gerard better bring his A-game.

D.C. United midfielder Patrick Nyarko (R) chases the ball in a recent match. Photo: Nick Wass/AP

D.C. United midfielder Patrick Nyarko (R) chases the ball in a recent match. Photo: Nick Wass/AP

Talking to Patrick Nyarko made me see him for who he truly is, which is a humble athlete with championship aspirations.  He prides himself on his ability to adjust to different situations and he’s ready to do that here with D.C. United.

Patrick will take the field this Sunday, March 6th, against the host LA Galaxy in southern California.

This blog post was written by VOA Intern Rick Narcisse.

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

Mudiay Makes Mark In The NBA

Posted February 18th, 2016 at 10:09 pm (UTC-4)
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Emmanuel Mudiay dribbles the ball during the NBA's Rising Stars Challenge in Toronto, Canada. Photo: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Emmanuel Mudiay dribbles the ball during the NBA’s Rising Stars Challenge in Toronto, Canada. Photo: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Representing the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denver Nuggets rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay exploded for 30 points and 10 assists in a loss to the United States team at the recent National Basketball Association All-Star Weekend Rising Stars challenge in Toronto, Canada.

For those who don’t know, the Rising Stars challenge is a game that showcases the NBA’s future all-stars. The game has left behind the old method of splitting up the teams. Instead of rookies vs. second-year players, the teams are split up by geography. Team World features young international talent, while Team USA features Americans.

The 19-year-old Mudiay truly embodies Team World as he’s a bit of a world traveler. Born in the DR

Emmanuel Mudiay drives to the basket in a game against the Chicago Bulls. Photo: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Emmanuel Mudiay drives to the basket in a game against the Chicago Bulls. Photo: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Congo, Emmanuel was raised in the United States and played one year of professional basketball in China for the Guangdong Southern Tigers. Now, he’s back in the USA playing basketball at the highest level, the NBA.

Mudiay’s 30 points tied with American Zach Lavine of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Latvian big man Kristaps Porziņģis of the New York Knicks for the game high. The final score was 157-154 in favor of Team USA. Lavine earned the game MVP title but it was a close battle for it.

Emmanuel Mudiay shoots the ball against Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat. Photo: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Emmanuel Mudiay shoots the ball against Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat. Photo: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Among the rookie class, the 6’5″ (1.96 meters) Mudiay ranks first in assists per game with 5.9 and fifth in points per game with 11.4. He missed some time due to an ankle injury in December, but has rebounded by averaging 12.7 points in January and now 7 assists per game in February.

Emmanuel is one of the NBA’s brightest young stars and he was able to show that in the Rising Stars challenge. He will take the floor again on Friday, February 19th, when the Nuggets play the Sacramento Kings in California.

This blog post was written by VOA Intern Rick Narcisse.

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

65th NBA All-Star Game

Posted February 10th, 2016 at 3:03 pm (UTC-4)
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NBA All Star Game Logo 2016Sunday’s 65th National Basketball Association All-Star Game in Toronto will mark the first time the popular exhibition contest has been held outside the United States, another sign that the league is looking to expand its brand in international markets.

The game will be played at Air Canada Centre, the home arena of the NBA’s Toronto Raptors club. Last month, the Raptors and the Orlando Magic traveled overseas to London and entertained basketball fans in the British capital in a regular season game.

Point guard Kyle Lowry scored 24 points to help lead the Raptors to a 106-103 overtime victory over the Magic in London. The NBA has also staged regular season games in recent years in Mexico and Japan.

All-Star guard Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors. Photo: Carlos Osorio / AP

All-Star guard Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors. Photo: Carlos Osorio / AP

Lowry and Raptors teammate DeMar DeRozan were both named to the All-Star Game and they should hear more than a few cheers from the crowd in Toronto.

The reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors are the only club with three players selected for the All-Star Game: guard Klay Thompson, forward Draymond Green and sharpshooter Stephen Curry, the league’s current MVP and leading scorer.

Stephen Curry, John Wall

Stephen Curry shoots over Washington Wizards guard John Wall. Both players will compete in the 65th NBA All-Star Game in Toronto. Photo: Alex Brandon / AP

While Curry should get a lot of attention in his third all-star appearance, so will Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, who announced this season, his 20th in the league, will be his last.

The 37-year-old Bryant is making his 18th All-Star Game appearance. Only retired great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, has more all-star selections with 19.

In recent years, more international players have participated in the All-Star Game. During the 2015 contest in New York City, veteran German big man Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks and Spain’s Gasol brothers – Pau Gasol of the Chicago Bulls and Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies – all participated.

For Sunday’s game, though, only Pau Gasol was selected. International players will be well-represented in the Rising Stars Challenge, an exhibition game for first and second-year players held on Friday night before the main All-Star Game.

Denver Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay. Photo: David Zalubowski / AP

Denver Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay. Photo: David Zalubowski / AP

The Rising Stars challenge features Team World against Team USA. All of Team World’s players were born outside the United States, and includes rookies Emmanuel Mudiay of the Denver Nuggets and Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks.

The 19-year-old Mudiay is from the Democratic Republic of Congo, while the 20-year-old Porzingis, a top candidate for the Rookie of the Year award, is from Latvia.

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

Ghana’s Commey Fighter to Watch in 2016

Posted January 6th, 2016 at 4:00 pm (UTC-4)
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Richard Commey

Richard Commey

Ghana has a proud pedigree of producing world champion fighters. Over the past 40 years, just to name a few, David “D.K. Poison” Kotey, Azumah “The Professor” Nelson and Ike “Bazooka” Quartey have earned glory for Ghana and brought home world title belts.

Richard Commey says he also wants to bring home a world championship belt and add his name to the list of great Ghanaian boxers.

The undefeated (23-0, 21 KOs), 28-year-old Commey has put himself in position to win the International Boxing Federation (IBF) world lightweight crown after winning all four of his fights in 2015, including a seventh round TKO of South Africa’s Thompson Mokwana.

Commey is a power puncher, and his career results reflect his hard-hitting style. Only two of his 23 fights have gone the distance, and Commey won both by unanimous decision.

The IBF says the Ghanaian will fight in a final elimination bout for its world title in 2016. An opponent and date is expected to be named in the next few weeks.

Ghanaian fighter Richard Commey throws another punch.

Ghanaian fighter Richard Commey throws another punch. Photo: Jim Fenwick

“’Whoever I face, I’m sure it will be a tough test as it will be against a world class opponent,” says Commey, “but I’m undefeated and I have no fear of any fighter.”

Commey’s promoter, Nisse Sauerland, is confident his fighter can win another world title for Ghana. “He has the skill set and punching power to beat anyone at 135 lbs.,” says Sauerland, “and I believe it’s only a matter of time before Ghana has a new world champion.”

If Commey wins the elimination bout, it’s likely he would then meet another unbeaten fighter, IBF Lightweight champion Rances “Kid Blast” Barthelemy of Cuba.

 

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

Great Year For Kipchoge and Kenyan Marathon Runners

Posted November 4th, 2015 at 3:30 pm (UTC-4)
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Kenyan athletes Simon Biwott and Mary Keitany celebrate their titles at the New York City Marathon November 1. Photo: Mike Segar/Reuters

Kenyan athletes Simon Biwott and Mary Keitany celebrate their titles at the New York City Marathon November 1. Photo: Mike Segar/Reuters

2015 is proving to be another great year for Kenyan athletes at the marathon distance. The Kenyans swept the men’s and women’s titles at three major marathons – Berlin, Chicago and New York.

Leading the Kenyan charge was Eliud Kipchoge, who clocked 2:04:42 to win the London Marathon April 26th, and then ran 2:04:00 to win the Berlin Marathon five months later.

Kipchoge will celebrate his 31st birthday on November 5th. He won silver and bronze medals for Kenya at 5000m at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2004 Athens Olympics.

After winning Berlin, Kipchoge told “The Energetic” Andy Edwards he hopes to win another Olympic medal in 2016 in the marathon.

Based on his victories in Berlin and London, Eliud Kipchoge is my pick for best marathon runner of 2015.

Eliud Kipchoge wins the 2015 London Marathon. Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

Eliud Kipchoge wins the 2015 London Marathon. Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

But based on Olympic history, it’s far from certain Kipchoge will medal in Rio next year.

Kenya’s dominance of the marathon hasn’t carried over to Olympic competition, which tends to be more about tactics and less about speed.

The late Sammy Wanjiru, who died tragically in a fall off a balcony at his home in 2011, is the only Kenyan to win the Olympic gold in the marathon. Wanjiru won the marathon at the 2008 Beijing Games in an Olympic record time of 2:06:32.

History also tells us, though, that Eliud Kipchoge has to be considered one of the favorites for the gold medal when the 2016 Olympic men’s marathon is staged in Rio de Janeiro.

In his six career marathons, Kipchoge has won five and placed second in the other.

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

About

Sonny Side of Sports is an energetic and action-packed look at both world and African sports, broadcast on radio, TV and the Internet. Since the show’s creation in 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

The Sonny Side of Sports is broadcast Monday through Friday at 1630 and 1830 UTC/GMT. And on Fridays at 1730 UTC/GMT, Sonny has an expanded 30-minute sports show.

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