(17 Aug 2012) LEADIN:
A Kenyan Olympian is working with young athletes in Nairobi in the hope of creating athletics stars in time for Rio 2016.
Former 5,000 metre cross country champion John Ngugi won gold in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
When it comes to athletics, Kenya is consistent in the medal tables - if not one of the leaders.
In London this year, Kenyan athletes picked up 11 medals in total, 2 gold, 4 silver and 5 bronze - all in athletics. In Beijing 4 years ago, they had a total haul of 14 medals.
Now, former 5000 metre cross country champion, John Ngugi is hoping to train up the athletes that will bring back more gold medals to Kenya from Rio in 2016.
"This is my lucky number during the Olympics in 1988 and this is when I met president Moi at State House, in this one I was prepared to break the world record, but we missed it with 3 seconds," says the 50 year old, proudly showing off his collection of medals - one of which is the gold he picked up at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Ngugi was the first person to win the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) cross-country 5 times and used to be a national hero representing and winning numerous titles in long and short distance running.
But his successful career came to an end 19 years ago after he refused to take an out of competition drug test that led to a 4 year suspension after which he did not compete again.
Instead he set up the John Ngugi foundation and now spends his time trying to identify and train the crop of future Kenyan athletes.
"I have started training young athletes, I have identified those with potential so I help them in training and we have around 30 people that we are training. We want to go all over the country to see how we can help these young athletes because most of them don't know how to do proper training so we want to bring them together and help them," he says.
22 year old Hilary Murimi says he wants to join the long list of successful Kenyan runners and is taking his training very seriously.
He says he was inspired by the late Marathon runner, Samuel Wanjiru, who won Kenya's gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics:
"I used to see him (Wanjiru) doing his training and then he would go compete and win, that was my motivation and is what is making me train hard every day."
But he says he was disappointed with Team Kenya at this year's games:
"What has made me disappointed with the just concluded Olympics is how the Kenyans performed. We are being told that they trained hard before the games, but when they went there, I don't know what happened to them and we did not win as many medals like before, with that said, I want to concentrate and put more into my training so that I can be a champion and maybe I'll be able to represent Kenya in the next Olympics."
Kenya won 2 gold medals this year compared to 6 in Beijing.
Ngugi's 18 year old son, James Wahome is another young athlete who is hoping to reach Rio in 2016.
Wahome says his dream is to compete in international athletic competitions and make his father proud by winning in the same race his father did years ago, the 5,000 metre cross country:
"I train so hard in order to make my dad proud by running the 5000 metres race, I also want to uplift his life, but mostly I want to make him proud just like David Rudisha made his dad proud by winning the Olympic gold for Kenya."
Although Kenya is renown for fielding champions in athletics, Ngugi says the Kenyan government should be doing more to help inspire younger athletes to train professionally.
For now, Ngugi hopes that one of these men will win gold for his country at the Olympics in Brazil in 4 years time.
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