23 November 2012 – Barcelona, Spain – The IAAF Centenary weekend will be seeing some of the world’s biggest stars of the present and past grace the celebrations. We put Denmark’s former World 800m record holder and three-time World 800m champion Wilson Kipketer under the spotlight and asked him 10 quick-fire questions, a few serious, a few fun, on Friday (23).
Who is your favourite athlete of the past 100 years?
WK: It is a long time, that’s a tough one. If you look back in the history of athletics there are so many. The first I would name is Abebe Bikila (two-time Olympic marathon champion) who ran with his heart. (Wilson proceeded to name a dozen or so athletes but we’ll go with his first answer).
What is your favourite moment of the past 100 years?
WK: (Again Wilson found it tough to name one but he spoke passionately about) the 120,000 people watching Cathy Freeman win the Olympic 400m title at the Sydney Games was amazing.
If you could change one thing about athletics, what would it be and why?
WK: To see more of the top athletes running all of the Grand Prixes and Samsung Diamond League meetings. I want to see more competitions and an improvement in the quality of the fields.
Where will the sport be in a 100 years’ time?
WK: Athletics will change, but my fear is there will be no athletics anymore because of technology and the rise of computer games. It is something which is worrying, unless we change the way we think.
Why chose athletics as a sport?
WK: It gives people discipline and makes people organise themselves. Athletics and sport is a great thing.
Do you have a favourite competition venue?
WK: I would say Zurich, because of the way they treat people and respect their athletics champions.
If you had a film made about you which actor would play Wilson Kipeter?
WK: My character would be smiley and happy. Maybe, Eddie Murphy.
Which athlete are you most looking forward to seeing at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow?
WK: I would say David Rudisha to see his progression, but also Usain, if he can maintain. On the women’s side, I’d like to see Allyson Felix and what she could do in the 400m.
If you could pick three athletes from history to attend you dinner party, who would they be and why?
WK: Lord Coe and Sergey Bubka for their ambition and because they can make things happen and Merlene Ottey because of her personality.
If you could bake a cake for the IAAF’s 100th anniversary, what would it be and why?
WK: It would be a big cake with all the sponsors on the cake. The top of the cake would have a big stadium showcasing all the events from the javelin and long jump. It would be a big cake.
Steve Landells for the IAAF