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Komen: Sorry, my Mercedes, land offer no longer stands!



For 25 years, Kenya’s Daniel Komen held the world indoor 3,000 metres record at seven minutes, 24.90 seconds.

This enormous barrier was built in 1998 for the Budapest Samsung Cup in Hungary.

But, Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma ultimately overcame the obstacle on Wednesday night at the Meeting Lievin Hauts-de-France Pas-de-Calais in France, setting a new world record of 7:23.81.

He outran Mohamed Katir of Spain, who placed second in a time that set a record for Europe and ran inside Komen’s record. Komen, 46, presently serves as a director at the Potters House Academy in Eldoret, which he also owns.

He still maintains the world records for the outdoor 3,000-meter run (7:20.67), which he established in Rieti, Italy, in September 1996, and the two-mile run (7:58.61), which made him the first man to surpass the eight-minute mark in Hechtel, Belgium, in 1997.

Komen was so certain that his records for the indoor and outdoor 3,000 meters would be difficult to top that he offered any Kenyan athlete who broke either record first a brand-new Mercedes Benz automobile and a plot of property in Eldoret.

But on Thursday, he regretted that his offer had expired. “No one came close to what I had registered then. After 25 years, my offer has expired and it’s unfortunate that Kenyan athletes missed it,” he said. “I even challenged my competitors then, including Ethiopia’s legends Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele, among others, and I wanted to give them the prize, but no one came close,” added Komen.

On Thursday, he paid glowing tribute to the Ethiopian for diving inside his indoor mark. “I will be travelling to Addis Ababa to meet him and have a word with him,” said Komen.

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Considering the indoor competition to be more complex and concerned that one can easily fall in the inside lane and be disqualified, Komen chose to run from the second lane during the historic 1998 race.

He thinks that more records will be broken as a result of the new technology.

“The world is changing and I know that with the new technology like the wave lights and the shoes, we are going to witness faster times which is also good for the sport.

“I managed to break the world record then because it was winter and I had trained well despite running with the wrong shoes.

“I used sprinters’ shoes because at the time, my management didn’t specialize in long distance races. If I had the right ones, I would have even run faster but that is now gone and we now need to see who will run faster in the other races,” he said.

After hanging up his spikes in 2007, Komen ventured into business and later invested in the private school in a move he said was “giving back to the community.”

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