This text is from Standard Media – Kenya.
Unfortunately the real Samuel Kamau Wanjiru will never be able to stand up as was asked as he sadly met his death early yesterday after falling from the balcony of his house in Nyahururu.
2011 has not been a good year for the reigning Olympic champion though, what with all the problems that had bedevilled the little man who horned his skill in Japan.
|Kenya’s Samuel Kamau Wanjiru doing a lap of honour after winning gold in Beijing 2008 Olympics. Wanjiru died today after leaping off his Nyahururu house balcony [Photo File]|
Apart from a knee injury that has plagued him and which led to his withdrawal from the London marathon last month, he also had a court case charged with threatening to kill his wife, Triza Njeri, illegally possessing a firearm as well as counts of threatening to kill his watchman William Masinde.
As if that was not enough, Wanjiru cheated death when his SUV rolled on his way to Nyahururu after swerving to avoid hitting a truck.
That explains why Kenyans had wanted to see more of the man that was touted to be the next world marathon record holder.
So how did it all begin for the 24-year old who was set to attack Haile Gebrselassie’s record in Berlin in September?
Wanjiru set his first world record when he was only 18 in 2004. In 2007, he broke the 20 km road running record and improved the half marathon record by over twenty seconds.
Wanjiru took back the half marathon world record, which Gebrselassie broke early in 2006, with 58:53 minutes on February 9, 2007 at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon and improved it to 58:33 on March 17, 2007 in the City-Pier-City Loop in The Hague, The Netherlands.
While improving his own record, he recorded an unofficial time of 55:31 for 20 km, which was faster than Gebrselassie’s world record, but was never ratified due to the timing methods in the race.
Wanjiru ran his first full marathon race at the Fukuoka Marathon on December 2, 2007, winning it impressively with a course record of 2:06:39.
He was second in the 2008 London marathon breaking 2:06 for the first time.
The little known Kenyan was in the same 2008 Olympic team with Martin Lel and Robert Cheruiyot, who was to be later replaced by then reigning world champion Luke Kibet and many had tipped Lel to win the gold, but Wanjiru had other ideas.
Wanjiru ran most of the race alone after his compatriots dropped out and won gold in an Olympic record time of 2:06:32, smashing the previous record of 2:09:21 set by Carlos Lopes of Portugal in the 1984 Olympics.
LONDON AND CHICAGO MARATHONS
In April 2009, Wanjiru won the London Marathon in a time of 2:05:10, a new personal record and also a new course record.
In October 2009, Wanjiru won the Chicago Marathon in a time of 2:05:41, setting a new course record for the city and the fastest marathon time ever run in the United States.
The wins in London and Chicago helped him reach the top of the World Marathon Majors rankings for 2009, earning him a jackpot of US$500,000 (Sh40m).
He signed up to defend his title at the 2010 London Marathon, but he encountered knee trouble at the midway point of the race and decided to drop out to avoid further injury – the first time in six marathons that he had failed to finish. He chose to run at the 2010 Chicago Marathon in October, but a stomach virus before the race had harmed his preparations and he entered the competition with the lesser aim of reaching the top three.
Ethiopia’s Tsegaye Kebede took the opportunity to forge a lead, but Wanjiru stayed with the pace and caught up with the Ethiopian. He took the lead in the final 400 m to defend his title in Chicago with a time of 2:06:24.
« It was the greatest surprise I have ever seen in my life », remarked his coach, Federico Rosa, on the performance.