In a surprise move, two-time Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi has shelved his retirement, promising to come back stronger at next year’s World Championships in London.
Kemboi, who has won the World title a record four times, said he would have retired if he had kept the bronze medal he won on Wednesday at the Rio Olympic Games but reversed his decision after her was disqualified for a line infringement.
“I had opted to retire right after the Olympics only if I had come home with this medal…Now I feel that I have to bring back this medal not by protesting again but right on track,” said Kemboi on his Facebook page on Thursday. “Kemboi is not retired yet and I will be coming to London 2017 to re-claim my medal from France…No limits.”
Kemboi was stripped of the bronze medal upon an appeal by the French team claiming that Kemboi, who has a collection of 21 medals, stepped on the inner lane right after the water jump.
Video replays of the race showed Kemboi stepping on the lane but after a push from another athlete.
Efforts by Team Kenya management to challenge France’s appeal were futile as Frenchman Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad, who won silver at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics, was awarded the bronze medal.
Kenya’s two-time World 3,000m steeplechase silver medallist Conseslus Kipruto won the race in a new Olympic Record time of 8 minutes and 03.28 seconds.
American Evan Jager went for silver in 8:04.28. Kemboi had settled for bronze 8:08.47 but Mekhissi-Benabbad, who came in fourth in 8:11.52, was awarded the bronze after appeal.