Emmanuel Wanyonyi's 2023 : Kenya's rising star on the cusp of breaking 800m world record

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ATHLETICS Emmanuel Wanyonyi's 2023 : Kenya's rising star on the cusp of breaking 800m world record

Festus Chuma 08:00 - 26.12.2023

Here is Emmanuel Wanyonyi's inspiring journey from ridicule to riches in middle-distance running, his 2023 victories, and the pursuit of world records.

Kenyan middle-distance runner Emmanuel Wanyonyi has taken the athletics world by storm with his meteoric rise in the 2023 season.

At just 19-years-old, he has achieved remarkable success, securing silver in the men's 800m at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary. 

Wanyonyi's journey from a remote village in Saboti, West of Kenya, to becoming the 2023 Male Rising Star of the Year is a tale of determination, resilience, and the pursuit of dreams against all odds.

Wanyonyi's journey to stardom began amidst mockery and skepticism from the very people who witnessed his early runs in the village.

His relentless pursuit of greatness fueled by a dream to uplift his family from poverty led him to take up running as his salvation. 

Growing up in a large family with limited resources, Wanyonyi faced numerous challenges, but his athletics talent became his ticket to education and a brighter future.

Millions won and Diamond League dominance

Emmanuel Wanyonyi's 2023 season was nothing short of spectacular, as he dominated the track and accumulated a substantial fortune in earnings. 

It all began in Rabat, Morocco, where he won the men's 800m race and walked away with Ksh1,473,500. The victory in Paris, France, further solidified his reputation, earning him another Ksh 1,473,500. 

Even in moments of challenge, such as his eighth-place finish in Monaco, Wanyonyi continued to persevere, earning Ksh73,675.

However, it was at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, that Wanyonyi truly made his mark. 

Securing the silver medal, he pocketed a staggering Ksh5,005,000. His triumph in Xiamen, China, where he defeated reigning world champion Marco Arop, added another Ksh1,473,500 to his growing wealth.

The pinnacle of his season was the Prefontaine Classic, the Diamond League Meeting final, where he dominated the competition and earned a remarkable Ksh4,419,000. In total, Wanyonyi's earnings from the Diamond League circuit amounted to an impressive Ksh 8,913,175.

The potential to break world record

Emmanuel Wanyonyi's remarkable journey and unprecedented success in 2023 have raised a compelling question: Could he be the athlete to break the 800m world record in the future? While he has already achieved great heights at a young age, there is still much more to come from this Kenyan middle-distance sensation.

Wanyonyi's athletics journey began as a means of escaping poverty and hardship. Dropping out of school at a young age, he worked as a herd boy while nurturing his passion for running. 

A teacher recognized his talent and supported his return to school, setting the stage for his incredible rise in the world of athletics. His dedication, discipline, and unwavering commitment to both education and running have propelled him to where he stands today.

At the 2021 World U20 Championships, Wanyonyi's astonishing 1:43:76 run in the final signaled his arrival on the international stage. It was a time faster than the winning time in the Tokyo Olympics final, showcasing his extraordinary potential.

Since then, he has continued to excel, making podium appearances across various track disciplines, from the 400m to the 5,000m, at the county and international levels.

In 2022, Wanyonyi transitioned to the senior level with remarkable success, consistently performing well in national and international 800m races. 

Although he narrowly missed out on a medal at the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, his competitive spirit and determination remained undaunted. 

His participation in the World Cross Country Championships in February 2023, where he was part of Kenya's gold-medal-winning team, demonstrated his versatility as a runner.

Wanyonyi's story is not just one of personal triumph but also of unwavering dedication to his family. He has taken on the role of provider for his younger siblings, ensuring they have access to education and a brighter future.

"I never imagined I would be competing at the world level at that early stage of my running career. I'd just started running nationally that year. I came from nowhere to win," Wanyonyi reflected on his breakthrough moment.

 His journey serves as an inspiration to many young athletes who dare to dream beyond their circumstances.

Looking ahead, Wanyonyi has set his sights on the Paris Olympics, determined to continue his ascent in the world of athletics. 

His rapid progress and determination to break barriers suggest that the world may witness history in the making as this rising star from Kenya continues to chase his dreams. 

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