Kenyan Olympic champion Wilfred Bungei retires

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After 10 competitive years on the tartan tracks, Kenyan Olympic king Wilfred Bungei says he has decided to hang his spike shoes as champion.

Speaking on arrival Wednesday from his Beijing Olympic outing where he won the men’s 800 metres gold medal, Bungei said he was elated to be retiring as champion, and described his competitive per iod as the best moment in his life.

“I am very happy for the support I have got during my 10 years career and am elated to bow out as a champion and hope the rest of the athletes who will follow suit will get the support they need,” he said.

For Bungei, the Beijing feat was a repeat of the 1988 Seoul Olympics where another Kenyan, Paul Ereng, upset the field to bring home the gold medal over the same course.

“It was hard for it to sink down in me that I had won. Having led the pack from the start it was hard to maintain the lead and I made sure I tipped before the rest of the fast pack could catch up with me,” he added.

The two-lap champion said the challenge was for the young athletes in the field to make sure they maintain the high standard of competition.

Bungei was also happy with his leadership skills, having led Kenya to its best Olympic performance where they won five gold medals just like the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

In all, Kenya ranked 15 overall, and the top African country at the Olympics with 14 medals – 5 gold, four silver and five bronze medals.

Beijing Olympics 2008  The 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China takes place between August 8 and 24. This dossier focuses on the hopes, aspirations, and achievements of athletes from the African continent.
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