Arizona and Kenya: An Olympic Connection


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While they may be at different stages of their respective careers, the olympic dreams of runners Lawi Lalang and Bernard Lagat have converged at the University of Arizona.

Both Kenyan born, Lagat and Lalang are using Tucson as their proving grounds for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Bernard Lagat won medals in the 2000 and 2004 Olympic games for Kenya.

Lagat, who trained as a student athlete at Washington State University, became an American citizen in 2005.

Since then, he has won seven medals at the World Championships as an American and competed for the United States in Beijing in 2008.

In preparation for the 2012 Olympics, Lagat joined the Arizona Wildcats Track and Field coaching staff as a volunteer assistant. Lagat sites the ideal running conditions as the reason for coming to Tucson.

Another reason was Lalang.

Lagat has become a mentor to the Arizona freshman phenom.

Lalang turned in an undefeated cross country season and now has his sights on the track.

At the Millrose Games this past February, Lalang finished second to Lagat in the 5,000-meters.
Stephen Sambu, an Arizona sophomore who is also Kenyan, finished third in the same race.

Lalang has made his intentions clear to compete it this summer’s Kenyan Olympic Trials with dreams of

punching his ticket to London.



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