The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Legend Tergat Feted

International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) have appointed Kenya's Paul Tergat as the official Ambassador for the 2013 World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

In a despatch to Tergat from Monaco, the international athletics body, said Tergat will promote the upcoming cross country championships and IAAF through promotional appearances at selected events and motivational speeches

Tergat will also field media interviews, among other ceremonial duties such as medal presentations. "I feel very honoured to receive this appointment, which is not only for me but our country as a global long distance giant," Tergat said upon receiving the news.

"It is now important that our athletes work extra hard to ensure we return with a big haul of medals next year at Bydgoszcz cross country as a way of reciprocating this gesture," he added.

Tergat is remembered for winning world cross country's senior men's 12km event a record five times (1995-1999) and he is still considered the jewel of cross country running.

The accomplishment in the World Cross Country Championships has also put him in a legendary status in as far as running in the jungle is concerned.

Tergat has also been at the forefront advocating for the cross country to be included in the Olympic Games as a competitive sport although this is yet to go through.

"Tergat deserves the appointment as Bydgoszcz 2013 Championships Ambassador having dominated cross country for five years," said Simon Chebon, SOYA awards secretary, while congratulating Tergat.

Tergat, the gentleman of athletics as he is fondly referred to by friends, was recently nominated by the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) to succeed Dr. Kipchoge Keino at IOC as a member.

He is also the founder of the just concluded annual Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) and promotes a number of road races and athletes' seminars across the country through his Foundation, the Paul Tergat Foundation.

As a philanthropist, Tergat continues to champion for the school feeding programme as the Ambassador Against Hunger of the WFP since 2004 as well as being the UN Millenium Development Goals (MDG) champion (2010-2015).

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