Some time in 2003, Stephen Kiprotich dreamt thrice flying in the air and viewing tops of buildings plus an avalanche of lights.
That anecdote and more filled Kiprotich’s speech as he was crowned February’s best by Uganda Sports Press Association (Uspa) at Imperial Royale Hotel on Thursday night. “I am very privileged to be here,” he said amid chuckles, “… I am grateful that Uspa hasn’t forgotten me since 2007 when I first stepped up this podium.”
Kiprotich took his fourth ever Uspa monthly honour after he finished second in a new personal best time of two hours, six minutes and 33 seconds at the Tokyo Marathon on February 23. That performance became the new national record; erasing previous one of 2:07:20 he had set at the 2011 Enschede Marathon.
Buganda Kingdom’s Prince David Wasajja presided over the Thursday ceremony as chief guest. “I am privileged to be in the same house with you Kiprotich,” Prince Wasajja said before handing him his plaque.
“We pray God gives you more energy in your future. I believe you have a long way to go and this is just the beginning.”
The feat was a perfect precursor as Kiprotich prepares to defend his title at the World Championships in Beijing, China in August.
“Now the task ahead of me is to defend my title this year and next year (Olympics) as well,” Kiprotich noted.
Kiprotich produced an amazing zig zag running style as he tested his opponents enroute to inning the world title in Moscow, Russia two years ago.
In order to become only the third runner to retain the crown after Spaniard Abel Anton and Kenyan Abel Kirui, Kiprotich revealed he is cooking a new trick for the Beijing showdown.
“Zig zag was just an initiative because it was tough to break away from my opponents. I think I should again plan for another trick this time,” he said to the amusement of sports journalists. He starts training on April 5.