Former Athlete Minting Millions in Supermarket Trade 

  • Customers queueing at a supermarket in Kenya
    Customers queueing at a supermarket in Kenya
    File
  • Transitioning from global stardom to a simple life back in the village has proved to be a major challenge for some of Kenya's top sports personalities.

    However, former world 3,000 metres steeplechase champion Moses Kiptanui is thriving since he traded his running shoes for a ledger book.

    On Saturday, December 5, he opened a new Tulin Supermarket branch in Eldoret.

    The new store brings the total to 4 in the ex-athlete's retail chain’s stable; 2 in Eldoret, 1 at Kachibora and another one in Kitale.

    Komora Centre in Eldoret. It is owned by Moses Kiptanui.
    Komora Centre in Eldoret. It is owned by Moses Kiptanui.
    File

    “This is our fourth branch after many years of trying to catch up (with other retailers). It is good to sacrifice to run for the country and also sacrifice in this world of business.” 

    “At the moment, we have 30 employees and we are being supported by other branches – Iten Road, Kachibora and Kitale. When business gets back to normal, we expect to employ up to 70 staff in this branch,” he stated during the grand opening event.

    The former steeple star has also invested in real estate, and revealed that the organic growth and challenges over the years have been fairly rewarding.

    "Start with the little capital you have and manage well. You don't need to make millions of shillings to start a business," he advised.

    The newest outlet is located at Komora Centre (his building) which housed Tuskys supermarket for many years.

    Discipline and business acumen guided the former world champion in his investments from early days. He set up several commercial buildings in Eldoret and Komora Centre.

    Kiptanui smashed the world record in steeplechase race on June 8 1995, at a Grand Prix meeting in Rome Olympic Stadium in Italy, and was rewarded a pedigree stallion.

    Having blown away his opposition in the 5,000m race win in a time of 12 minutes and 55.30 seconds, the Kenyan champion was handed the thoroughbred horse.

    Logistical challenges regarding how to get the stallion to Elgeyo Marakwet influenced his decision to sell it before travelling back home.

    During an interview 4 years ago, he revealed that he actually sold the horse for 10,000 US dollars which translated to about Ksh880,000 at the time.

    At the time, he had no idea that the financial proceeds he got from the horse would kickstart his journey into the world of entrepreneurship.

    The money changed his life from being a steeplechase champion to an astute milk producer in the North Rift and big time real estate owner. 

    In 2016, he was producing well over 500 litres of milk each day and raking in half a million Kenyan shillings from his dairy hustle alone.

    Today, Kiptanui’s dairy farm is a model farm in the slopes of Cherangany hills.

    Kiptanui won three steeplechase world championships between 1991 and 1995. His success story is in sharp contrast to the many riches to rugs stories of sportsmen and women.

    Many athletes have lost millions to shady agents, while others simply confessed to having plundered their fortune by spending extravagantly.

    Kenyans have often had to step in to bail out some of these athletes.

    Kenyan athlete Moses Kiptanui.
    Kenyan athlete Moses Kiptanui.
    File