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Updated 25 August 2007
Boniface KIPROP Toroitich, Uganda (5000/10,000m)
Born 12 October 1985, Kapchorwa District, Uganda
Younger brother of Martin Toroitich, three-time World Junior Cross Country Championships participant.
For the first five years of Boniface Kiprop’s international career, coverage invariably made reference to his age. Before he was 20, he had finished 4th in the 10,000m in both the 2004 Athens Olympics (27:25.48) and the 2005 Helsinki World Championships (27:10.98), not to mention winning four medals in World Junior competition, including the 10,000m gold in the 2004 World Junior Championships in Grosseto (28:03.77).
Two weeks after the Olympic 10,000m, he ran another 10,000m in Brussels, and though he placed only 5th behind a formidable bunch of Kenyans, his 27:04.00 broke by more than seven seconds the 13-year-old world junior record of Kenya’s Richard Chelimo. A year later, at the same Brussels meeting, not quite two months before his 20th birthday, he clocked 26:39.77 behind Kenenisa Bekele’s world record 26:17.53. And seven months after that, aged 20 years 5 months, Kiprop picked up his first major championship as a senior athlete, winning the gold medal in the 10,000m at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, in Melbourne.
The rest of 2006 brought a couple of first-rate performances from Kiprop (12:57.11 PB to win the 5000 at the Stockholm GP and 26:41.95 for 3rd in the 10,000 in Brussels) but otherwise uneven results on the European circuit.
2007 did not begin auspiciously, as Kiprop finished a distant 8th in the World’s Best 10k, in Puerto Rico, and then collapsed within sight of the finish line in the sweltering World Cross Country Championships, in Mombasa. On the track, he has raced just three times this year, and has posted no impressive results, but he knows what it takes to compete at a high level in a major championship, and he must be counted a medal threat in the Osaka 10,000m.
Now in his third year of fully-fledged senior competition, Kiprop is already acting as mentor to younger Ugandan athletes as the founding member of a training camp in his home district of Kapchorwa. The camp, which is in its third year of operation, counts among its members six of the nine competitors in Uganda’s team in Osaka, including the promising 800m runner Abraham Chepkirwok (2006 World Junior bronze medalist, PB 1:44.78) and the reigning African champion at 10,000m (2006) and All Africa Games champion at 5000m (2007), Moses Kipsiro.
Nineteen Kiprops are listed by one of the standard internet sources for athletics data, 17 of them Kenyan, two Ugandan. This is no mere lexical coincidence. The meaning of the name is the same in each case—born while it's raining—because the Kenyans and the Ugandans belong to different branches of the same tribe, the Kalenjin, most of whom live in Kenya.
Boniface's branch of the tribe, the Sabei, live on the western slopes of 4300m Mt. Elgon on the Kenya-Uganda border. His language is closely akin to that spoken by Kenya's three-time World Cross Championships 4k gold medalist Edith Masai, who grew up on Mt. Elgon’s eastern slopes, in Kenya.
5000/10,000: 2001 - 14:06.93/ 28:45.76; 2002 - 13:55.5/ --; 2003 – 13:16.21/ 27:15.88; 2004 - 13:05.47/ 27:04.00; 2005 – 12:58.43/ 26:39.77; 2006 – 12:57.11/ 26:41.95; 2007 – 13:07.46/ 28:05.66.
5000m: 12:57.11 (2006)
10,000m: 26.39.77 (2005)
6th 10,000 All Africa Games 2007 Algiers
1st 10,000 Commonwealth Games 2006 Melbourne
11th 5000 World Championships 2005 Helsinki
4th 10,000 World Championships 2005 Helsinki
4th 10,000 Olympic Games 2004 Athens
5th 5000 World Junior Championships 2004 Grosseto
1st 10,000 World Junior Championships 2004 Grosseto
3rd 10,000 Afro-Asian Games 2003 Hyderabad
6th 5000 All Africa Games 2003 Abuja
4th 10,000 All Africa Games 2003 Abuja
7th 5000 (ht 1) World Championships 2003 Paris
1st 5000 African Junior Championships 2003 Cameroon
1st 10,000 African Junior Championships 2003 Cameroon
1st 5000 African Junior Championships 2001 Mauritius
2nd 10,000 African Junior Championships 2001 Mauritius
DNF 12km Race World Championships 2007 Mombasa
22nd 12km Race World Championships 2006 Fukuoka
7th 12km Race World Championships 2005 St. Etienne
2nd 8km Jr Race World Championships 2004 Brussels
2nd 8km Jr Race World Championships 2003 Lausanne
3rd 8km Jr Race World Championships 2002 Dublin
27th 8km Jr Race World Championships 2000 Vilamoura
Prepared by John Manners for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. © IAAF 2002-2007.