•Kinyamal said he believes he has sharpened his talons well enough to tuck away a historic medal at the quadrennial global showpiece set for the French capital.
Having successfully defended his Commonwealth 800m title in Birmingham last year, Wycliffe Kinyamal now has his sights firmly trained on the coveted Olympic medal.
His rich trophy cabinet is bereft of both the Olympic and World Championship titles, which have proved elusive in his otherwise illustrious career.
In an interview on Thursday, Kinyamal said he believes he has sharpened his talons well enough to tuck away a historic medal at the quadrennial global showpiece set for the French capital.
“Winning gold twice at the Commonwealth Games has injected a lot of confidence into my performance. I still believe I can achieve a lot more in the future. I am still young and I need to do more. I feel I have a speed endurance plan to lower my personal best time."
Kinyamal last basked in global acclamation during the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games in England, where he timed 1:47.52 to win a second club games’ title in the men’s 800m – after his first at the Gold Coast, Australia, in 2018.
However, he never achieved the qualification mark for the Budapest World Championship and could only watch from afar as compatriot Emmanuel Wanyonyi came second behind Canadian Marco Arop to settle for silver.
His appearance at the World Championships was a seventh-place finish in the 4x400m where he partnered Kennedy Kimeu, Zablon Ekwam and Kelvin Tauta in 3:01.41.
He hopes to exorcise the ghosts that have incessantly denied him glory at future championships.
"All that I need to do is to train and work hard. With time, I believe my fortunes will improve a lot more and I will be able to perform well at the World Championships," he stated.
Kinyamal further attributed his lackadaisical season to persistent back problems that stood on his way but vowed to bounce back better this year.
“My back bogged me down last season and 2023 was such a painful year. I just want to rest and come back strong this year.”
He began the season on a high, wrapping up second behind fast-rising sensation Wanyonyi.
He then proceeded to finish second at the Diamond League Meeting in Rabat, Morocco, before a disastrous outing at Paris's leg where fizzled out to a disappointing sixth.
During the World Championships national trials, Kinyamal missed out on a qualification ticket to the Budapest after finishing fourth.
He, however, rose from the ashes to blaze to the Monaco Diamond League Meeting title, where he clocked a world-leading time of 1:43.22.
Matters got worse towards the end of last season when he ended his career on a low after finishing in fourth, seventh, and ninth positions at the Diamond League meetings in Xiamen, Brussels and Eugene, Oregon.
A member of the Global Sports Communication agency in Kaptagat, Kinyamal has been training under renowned Kenyan gaffer Patrick Sang.
"I have accomplished quite a lot from the time Patrick began guiding me. I trust him completely," Kinyamal remarked.
"I have been training for a while and so at the weekend meet, the purpose was to just assess my levels of preparedness…physical fitness as we prepare for the numerous competitions set for this year," he went on to add.
Aged just 20 and with a little over 20 competitive 800m races in his life, his best is yet to come.
Meanwhile, working under the astute and often patient stewardship of Sang is another positive sign.
Kinyamal also said he has gleaned invaluable lessons training alongside five-time Berlin Marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge.
"I mostly train on my own for track sessions but at least twice a week join Eliud Kipchoge on the course. I have learned. He is a big motivation given he offers regular advice and encourages me to work hard.”
The two-lap sensation reckons he has the aptitude to step into the shoes of retired Kenyan 800m icon David Rudisha. Indeed, he boasts many similarities to Rudisha.
They both grew up just 11km apart in Narok County. Like Rudisha, Kinyamal hails from the Maasai community Born in Trans Mara, Kinyamal'a's rise to stardom began at the 2016 East and Central Africa Junior Athletics Championships, where he clinched the 800m.
He placed third at the Kenyan World Junior trials later that year and failed to make the national team. Initially determined to pursue a path in high jump, Kinyamal took up running when he had completed high school at Mogonga Secondary School.
After just a few months of training, he made his 800m debut, running 1:49 to win in Bondo in February 2016. Two months later, he stormed gold at the East African Regional Junior Championships in Tanzania.
“I was very happy with the times I ran over the distance after only a few months training.”
In June 2016, he finished third at the Kenyan Junior Trials, slashing his personal best by one second to record 1:46.8.
However, he suffered a major setback in his progression in 2017 when he picked up a hamstring injury and limped to a disappointing sixth in the heats at the Kenyan World Championship Trials in Nairobi.
Making his 2018 seasonal debut indoors in Dusseldorf, Kinyamal finished second in 1:46.54. A week and a half later, he secured second spot behind Jonathan Kitilit at the Kenyan Commonwealth Games Trials, after clocking 1:44.72 to book his ticket in the Kenyan team for Gold Coast. His Diamond League debut in Shanghai offered him a platform to prove his prowess in the two-lap race.
He fended off a vicious battle from Kitilit in a personal best time of 1:43.91, sending a huge statement to the 800m fraternity. Kinyamal established himself as an elite-level runner in the 2017 season with impressive outings on the European track circuit.
"At the FBK Games (the Netherlands), I set a personal best of 1:45.65 minutes to place second behind Thijmen Kupers, then won the Palio Città della Quercia (Italy) in a meeting record of 1:43.94 minutes. I felt so excited," Kinyamal remarked.
The masterclass act ranked him seventh in the world and the following year he set an indoor best of 1:46.54 minutes to wrap up second at the PSD Bank Meeting (Germany).
He secured his maiden ticket on the Kenyan plane to the 2018 Commonwealth Games, earning his first senior international selection.
"At the Games, I stunned defending champion Nijel Amos in the final to claim the title, securing Kenya's first gold medal of the tournament that year."