His first experience in a plane is memorable, and staying at the Olympics village in Rio de Janeiro at the 2016 Olympic Games is a new life all together yet Jacob Kiplimo is not there to make up numbers.

And despite being Uganda’s youngest athlete at the games, the 15 year old from Kween District, Sebei sub-region has already set his target, which is qualifying for the 5,000m final.

Kiplimo has already won Uganda bronze, and this was at the finals of the 10,000m at the Under-20 World Championships in Poland last month, which was Uganda’s only medal at the games.

He is no stranger to winning though, in May Kiplimo shocked everyone by winning the 5,000m finals in Orvieto, Italy, becoming the youngest ever Ugandan runner to qualify for the Olympics 

I honestly didn’t expect anything like that. For me I was running with the hope of improving but didn’t see myself as an Olympic runner

He told a local newspaer Daily Monitor in an interview from the Olympics village in Rio de Janeiro.

Much as he hasn’t really set a podium finish as his ultimate target, confessed to the local newspaper that he has already dedicated his life to running.

I have decided to dedicate my life to running. I won’t be going back to school as earlier hoped

At Rio, Kiplimo hopes to put in a performance that will change not only his life but also that of his family.

My father has three wives and all the women have children. My mother gave birth to seven of us and the other women also have many children so our father struggles to look after all of us

Said the runner whose three stepbrothers Robert Chemonges, Martin Kiplagat and Victor Kiplagat are also national runner, he then added.

When I was still very young, my father had many cows. I think they were about 50. But because we didn’t have enough grazing land, many of them died and he sold the others to pay our school fees. When we return home after the Games, I plan to buy land and maybe some cows for my parents. I want to help my father replace his cows. Our house at home is not so good so I also hope to build them a better one in future

The Likil Primary School old boy won the National Mountain Running Championships in Kapchorwa in August last year. But wasn’t selected for the on the national team that represented Uganda at the World Mountain Championships in Wales the following month.

The runner caught the attention of Italian coach manager Guisseppe Gambrone last November when he finished fourth in the MTN Kampala Marathon (10km category) at Kololo.

When I first saw Kiplimo running, I had no doubt he would become great. I quickly negotiated with his parents and Uganda Athletics Federation and they agreed that I handle him

Gambrone who has previously handled Ugandan long distance great Boniface revealed, who has signed Kiplimo on a two-year professional contract with Tuscany last month.

The runner will expect some decent paycheck after Rio and any other races he competes in thereafter and with top-up from the national team allowances, his parents can look forward to a better life.

KIPLIMO AT A GLANCE (Source: Daily Monitor)

Date of birth: November 14, 2000
Place of birth: Taragon, Benet Sub-county, Kween District
Races: 1,500m, 3,000, 5,000 & 10,000

1,500m: 3:50.24 (May 7, 2016)
3,000m: 7:52.94 (June 13, 2016)
5,000m: 13:19.54 (June 10, 2016)
10,000m: 27:26.68 (July 19, 2016)

Feb 2015: 9th at National Cross-country in Jinja (junior race)
May 2015: 3rd in 10,000 during National Trials at Namboole
August 2015: 1st in National Mountain Running Championships in Kapchorwa
November 2015: Fourth in MTN Kampala Marathon (10km)

December 2015: 3rd in 10km road race
December 2015: 4th in Cross-country
May 2016: 1st in 5,000m

Senior staff writer at Kawowo Sports mainly covering volleyball, football and badminton

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