Feature14 May 2024

Emmanuel Wanyonyi: the people's champ


Kenya's Emmanuel Wanyonyi (© Dan Vernon)

At the age of just 19, Emmanuel Wanyonyi is already a senior world medallist, a world U20 champion, a world record-holder and a World Athletics award-winner.

The Kenyan 800m runner received the men’s Rising Star honour at the World Athletics Awards in 2023, a year in which he also became a Diamond League champion and formed part of Kenya’s victorious world cross country mixed relay team.

Welcoming World Athletics Inside Track to his home country, Wanyonyi reflects on his breakthrough 2023 season and explains how his successes are adding pressure in an Olympic year.

He also talks about what the Olympics means to him and why his training environment in Kapsabet, Nandi County, is so special.

Click the thumbnail to watch:Wanyonyi

“I like my job,” Wanyonyi says with a big smile. 

“Kenya is very competitive. Of course in 800m, it is very competitive for me. But I like competition. I like to compete. So, I need to focus my training – to get on the team for the track at the Olympics is very tough. I need to train well, I need to focus and improve my time, my PB.

“The Olympics this year, it’s a lot of pressure for me. Everyone trains for the Olympics, so I expect this year’s Olympics to be very tough for me. I need to train, I need to commit.

“My training mates like Benson Kipruto and Evans Chebet (multiple major marathon winners), they told me: ‘everything is possible’. If you believe and you are training well, if you are disciplined – everything is possible.”

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