Victor and Eli Kipchoge
Kenyan icons together at Hotspur Way
Wed 25 April 2018, 11:55|Tottenham Hotspur
This year’s London Marathon winner Eliud Kipchoge paid a visit to our Training Centre at Hotspur Way on Tuesday where he hooked up for a fascinating chat with fellow Kenyan sporting icon, our midfield powerhouse and Kenya captain Victor Wanyama...
A gold-medal winner at the 2016 Olympic Games in Beijing, 'Eli' claimed his third London Marathon on Sunday in a time of two hours, four minutes and 17 seconds despite temperatures being the highest in the event’s history.
The 33-year-old is a hero back home in Kenya and was delighted to get the chance to chat with one of his sporting idols, our own Victor Wanyama, on a visit to Hotspur Way as a guest of sports drink Maurten.
Our midfielder, who made his international debut aged just 15, became captain of the Kenyan national team in 2013 and recently won his 50th cap for his country.
How much of a fan are you of each other?
Victor: "Eliud is a big athlete back home. He does a lot for Kenyan sport and we appreciate him. He has a lot of fans and we are always sharing with him how happy we are that he lifts our Kenyan flag so high."
Eliud: "I am really a fan of his. I watch him every game and he is a very good, inspirational example to the next generation. For the future of Kenya, the youth are so interested in sport. I hope they will come up in his image and learn through his play. I can say that the next generation is being inspired by Victor. Above all, the discipline he carries all over Europe and coming back to Kenya is what inspires every individual from the youth to the older ones. He has made a lot of people love football, especially the Premier League."
Below: Eli with Dele, Victor, Serge and Paulo
How much of an icon is Victor/Eliud back in Kenya?
Victor: "For me personally, and for all the people in Kenya, I look up to him and people like him because they are huge. I believe we can learn something from him because you look at how he goes out there and performs really well. He works really hard and it motivates us. When you see him winning things, you want to work harder and get the accolades like him. If you have that mentality in Kenya then you can be huge."
Eliud: "Very big, very big! Where I live, in the western part of Kenya, Tottenham is really big. We are watching and are fans of Tottenham because of Victor."
Do you feel pressure being such stars in Kenya?
Victor: "For me, I would say a little bit because we represent the people and we want to help young kids become good athletes in the future. We want them to learn from us so I feel we have responsibilities to take. We have to lead by example and that is what we are trying to do."
Eliud: "It’s the same on my side. There’s a big pressure. Everybody is looking to me and Victor. If you perform very well then everybody is happy. If you perform averagely or at a lower level then you can see that everybody is discouraged. So it’s a big pressure to represent everyone, particularly the younger generation."
Below: Eli meets Mauricio
What is the reaction you get when you return home?
Victor: "The fans are always happy to see people like us but we are very humble. We try to speak to them and let them know how glad we are to have them as our fans. They always cheer and give us the support we need so going back home and seeing the support we receive is really huge."
Eliud: "I am really happy to go back and see how happy they are with our performances. They really have a massive impact on us and hopefully we are making a massive impact on the young ones to love sport. Personally, I appreciate all the fans and everyone back in Kenya for the massive support on our journey."
What can you learn from each other?
Victor: "Diet and nutrition certainly. We are very professional here at Tottenham and we are looked after very well. Our nutritionists help us get ready for the games and help us improve."
Eliud: "Firstly, the thing I learn most from Victor and the rest of the Tottenham players is teamwork - it’s really unbelievable. If we can apply this sort of teamwork to athletics and our training then we can go far. Secondly, the humbleness and respect for humanity - how the players are mingling in their training and how they are respecting each other. It’s unbelievable."