This year, Faith Kipyegon’s achievements on the track were incredible. She broke three world records in less than two months, beginning with the 1500m in Firenze, where she ran 3:49.11 on the 2nd of June, then the 5000m at the Paris Diamond League a week later. On the 21st of July, at the Monaco Diamond League meeting, she ran 4:07.64 for the mile’s world record. As if that wasn’t enough, she won two gold medals at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest in the 1500m and 5000m events.

With three world records and two world titles in a single year, her fans may have been surprised when she was put on the same level with five other athletes to share a spot for the World Athletics Athlete of the Year award. But, at home, during the national holiday to celebrate Kenya’s independence, Kipyegon was awarded a befitting medal for her remarkable achievements by Kenya’s president.

Faith Kipyegon battles with Sifan Hassan over 5,000m, World Athletics Championships
Budapest, Hungary
August 19-27, 2023, photo by Kevin Morris

“I have conferred upon our world-beating athlete Faith Kipyegon the rank and status of the Elder of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya (E.G.H.), the highest honour our country awards its citizens who illuminate the path of excellence,” Kenya’s president, William Ruto announced during the Kenyan Independence Day Celebrations at the Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi.

This national award is preserved for persons who do significant, outstanding service to the nation, and for the number of medals she has won for the country, the honour and glory she has brought to the nation and the inspiration she continues to give to the youth, Kipyegon rightfully deserved the award.

It is not just about three initials being added after her name. This is what it means for Kipyegon, among other benefits.

She can attend national and community events as a state guest.
Cultural and sports events can be held in her honour.
She can be assisted through the National Heroes Fund if she encounters a financial or health need.
The government can facilitate the education of her dependents up to the tertiary level.
Her dependents will get opportunities to serve in different government offices where they are qualified.
Infrastructures, parks, streets and other government facilities can be named after her.

Some days later, after receiving the lifetime award, Kipyegon was named the African Athlete of the Year by the C.A.A. (Confederation of African Athletics) on Thursday, the 21st of December.

Faith Kipyegon, Wanda Diamond League Athletics Meeting
Herculis EBS
July 21, 2023, Monaco, photo by Kevin Morris

A day later, she received a heroic welcome in her home county of Nakuru, where she was born. The big celebrations were led by the county governor, among other high-ranking government officials.

Eliud Kipchoge is the other athlete who has also been conferred with the same award by the former president of Kenya after his exemplary performances in the marathon event.

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