Today we pay tribute to
Wilson Kosgei born on December 12, 1972 is a Kenyan-born Danish and a former middle distance runner. As a teenager, he was first noticed by 1968 and 1972 Olympic champion Kip Keino. Keino suggested Kipketer attend the Catholic St.Patrick’s High School in Iten that was famous for bringing up young runners.
He held the indoor world record at the 800 meters distance until 2012. His 800 meters world record stood for almost 13 years but was later surpassed on 22 August 2010 by David Rudisha, the current 800 meters world record Champion. In 1990, Kipketer travelled to Denmark as a foreign exchange student, studying electronic engineering. He applied for Danish citizenship while in Denmark. However,he did not manage to become a full Danish citizen, and in 1996 the International Olympic Committee disallowed him from competing for Denmark in the Olympic games in Atlanta, USA. Despite his absence, he was still the strongest 800m meter runner in the world that year, Track and Field News magazines ranked him number one in the world in the 800 meters for 1996.
In 1997 Kipketer won the 800m gold at the Indoor World Championships in Paris, France. On 7 July he tied Sebastian Coe’s world record (1:41.73) for the 800 meters at a meeting in Stockholm, Sweden.On 24 August,1996, he improved the world record to 1:41.11 at the Grand Prix meet in Cologne, Germany.On 8 August, in the 1997 World Championship in Athletics at the Olympic Stadium, Athens, he led the race from start to finish, blazing the first 200 meters in 23.47 seconds and successfully defended the World Championship title he had won in 1995. He was voted Track and Field Athlete of the year by Track and Field News Magazine. In 2000, he broke the world indoor record in the 1000 meters by running a 2:14.96.At the 2000 Summer Olympic in Sydney, Australia, he took silver finishing 0.06 behind Nils Schumann.
In 2002, Kipketer won the gold medal at the European Championships in Munich.He also won 8 of the 9 races he contested. He had the fastest 800 meter time in the wolrd (1:42.32) and ranked number one in the world for 800 meters for a record sixth time.In 2003, despite of fighting injuries he competed through the season gaining a silver medal at the Indoor World Championships at the National Indoor Arena. He managed fourth place in the World Championships that year.In the 2004 Summer Olympics Kipketer won bronze medal. At the age of 33,he still ran fast even though he did not have dominant finish as he once possesed. He won six races he contested in and ended his career with a remarkable record of fast 800 meter times. His ten years of 1:44 800 meter times is unmatched by any other athlete.
Kipketer is today a member of the ‘Champions for Peace’, a group of more than 70 elite athletes committed to serving peace in the world through sport, created by Peace and Sport.