IN­TER­NA­TIONAL MALE

Athletics Weekly - - Spotlight -

John Ngugi

Un­til 1986 Kenya had never won a se­nior in­di­vid­ual world ti­tle, but then John Ngugi came along to win the first of five ti­tles.

De­spite be­ing 76th in the

1987 Kenyan tri­als, he was se­lected and won the world ti­tle in a close fin­ish with Paul Kip­koech. But he was more dom­i­nant the next two years, win­ning by 22 and 28 sec­onds.

The 1988 Olympic 5000m cham­pion was only 20th in

1990 and dropped out in 1991 but re­turned in 1992 to win his fifth ti­tle.

Paul Ter­gat

The year after Ngugi made his fi­nal ap­pear­ance, Ter­gat made his first. The mul­ti­ple Olympic medal­list, who went on to set a world marathon record, made a mod­est start fin­ish­ing 10th (and sixth Kenyan) be­fore ad­vanc­ing to fourth in 1994.

He soon dom­i­nated how­ever, win­ning his first ti­tle in Durham in 1995 and then gold ev­ery year un­til 1999, of­ten in sprint fin­ishes.

Car­los Lopes

The Por­tuguese was a slow starter, de­but­ing with a 24th place in 1973 aged 26. But he re­turned in 1976 in Chep­stow with a big win over Eng­land’s Tony Sim­mons.

After fin­ish­ing sec­ond to Leon Schots in 1977, he did noth­ing of note un­til he re­peated his sil­ver medal in 1983.

Although in the vet­eran M35 cat­e­gory, he showed no sign of slow­ing and won in both 1984 and 1985, the lat­ter at the age of 38.

Ke­nenisa Bekele

The world record-holder at 5000m and 10,000m was also dom­i­nant on the coun­try.

He started qui­etly with ninth place as a ju­nior in 1999 but re­turned in 2001 to win the ju­nior race by a whop­ping 33 sec­onds the day after fin­ish­ing a close sec­ond in the se­nior short­course race.

The fol­low­ing year, still a teenager, he be­came the first ath­lete to win the se­nior short course and long course ti­tles.

He re­tained both ti­tles ev­ery year from 2003 to 2006 and after drop­ping out with heat ex­haus­tion in 2007 he re­turned to win a record 11th se­nior in­di­vid­ual ti­tle in 2008.

Gas­ton Roe­lants

The 1964 Olympic steeple­chase cham­pion won his first In­ter­na­tional cross-coun­try medal – a sil­ver in 1960 – and re­turned to win in 1962.

He also won in 1967 and 1969 and came back and eas­ily took gold aged 35 in 1972.

In the twi­light of his ca­reer, he raced in the first four IAAF World Cross Coun­try Cham­pi­onships, win­ning a team medal for Bel­gium in each and fin­ish­ing in the top 15 in each.

Hon­ourable men­tions: dou­ble world cham­pi­ons John Treacy (1), Craig Vir­gin, William Sigei, Khalid Skah (2) and Ge­of­frey Kam­woror plus four-time in­ter­na­tional win­ner Alain Mi­moun (3) and dou­ble Olympic cham­pion Paavo Nurmi.

John Ngugi

Paul Ter­gat

Car­los Lopes

Ke­nenisa Bekele

Gas­ton Roe­lants

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