Chelelgo adjusts quickly to gain stardom on FAMU women’s track team
[subtitle]Kenyan finds a new home[/subtitle]
By MarKeith Cromartie
Being 8,000 miles away from home could bring on all sorts of emotions – especially when it comes to family and friends.
Welcome to the world of Cynthia Chelelgo, a native of Eldoret, Kenya, who had to leave her homeland to find track and field success while getting an education. Since she has been at FAMU, it has been like starting a new family.
“My life in Kenya was really good despite some challenges,” she said. “As you know there is nothing as good as being with your family; it is a wonderful feeling.”
It did not take long for Chelelgo to adjust to a different lifestyle in the United States. Darlene Moore, the FAMU women’s track team has helped her quick adjustment.
“When I first met her, she really helped me she was like my mother,” Chelego said. “Leaving a country and the people there and coming to a new country everything is different and she is someone who understands.”
Chelelgo, a senior majoring in biomedical engineering, also dreamed of attending a college outside her country. She didn’t take long to demonstrate her endurance as a distance running after being recruited by Moore. Chelego has been named MEAC athlete of the week multiple times and in the process has won four consecutive championships.
It wasn’t always easy, having to overcome multiple injuries during her freshman and sophomore years. She still managed to finish last season ranked No. 1 in the 2-mile and second in the 3-mile. Chelego also ended the year as the MEAC’s cross-country individual champion.
“She is doing what we call striking in the field and striking in the classroom,” said Moore.
Chelelgo, has become an inspiration to the younger runners on her team, always exhibiting a positive attitude. Her, desire to be great has become infectious.
Caroline and Emaculate Kiplagat sisters, also from Kenya, have brought in to Chelego’s leadership role.
“I see Cynthia as a role model the way she runs she motivates us to do well,” said Emaculate.
“She does encourage, us to do well in practices, she tells us not to miss any practices, and when we all do that we succeed together,” said Caroline.
The urge to be back in her homeland won’t last too much longer for Chelego, who already has big plans for the day the does.
“When I graduate, I’m going to go back home and do my (biomedical engineering) career,” she said. “I’m going to give back to my country.”