The now former UTEP track and field star Emmanuel Korir has decided to forgo his remaining collegiate eligibility and start competing professionally after signing a pro contract with Nike.
“Emmanuel started running well at the start of the indoor season, that’s when talks of turning pro came up”, said associate head coach Paul Ereng. “He’s ranked number one in the world in the 800m and top 10 in the 400m so he has the tools to become another house hold name for Kenya.”
Korir made his debut for the Miners at the Vanderbilt Commodore Invitational. The native of Kenya competed indoor for the first time in his career and claimed gold in the 800m with an impressive 1:46.50 time. The mid-distance runner went undefeated in each race he took part in including setting a world record 600m time of 1:14.97 at the New Mexico Cherry and Silver.
Wrapping up the indoor season, Korir became the first Miner to win the NCAA National Indoor title in the 800m clocking a time of 1:47.48.
“The decision for him to turn pro not only benefits him but also the program”, stated Ereng. “We want the best for our athletes and if we can help them achieve the goals they want and help further their education we will do everything we can to help them.”
During the outdoor season, Korir broke the school record in the 400m at the UTEP Invitational setting a time of 44.67 previously held by Bert Cameron (1981). The All-American is just one of three athletes in the world to run a sub-45 second 400m (UTEP Invitational) and a sub-1:44 in the 800m (1:43.75; Brutus Hamilton Challenge). He captured his second national title in the 800m (1:45.03) at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., the Mecca of track and field.
Making his professional debut back on July 21, Korir demolished a quality field with a world-leading 1:43.10 at the Herculis Monaco Diamond League in France. He captured the gold at the Kenyan trials running 1:43.86 in Nairobi to solidify his spot on the Kenya national team and a spot in the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federation) World Championships. Korir made the trip to London, England, where he reached the semifinal round of the 800m before narrowly missing out of the final.
Korir will return to the Sun City to continue his studies and train with Ereng.
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