Lonah Chemtai Travelled to Tel Aviv as a House Help, Now a Millionaire Carrying Israel's 1st Bronze Medal

  • Lorna Chemtai celebrating after winning bronze at the World Championships Oregon held on July 18, 2022.
    Lorna Chemtai celebrating after winning bronze at the World Championships Oregon held on July 18, 2022.
    File
  • Kenyan-born athlete, Lonah Chemtai, made history in the 2022 World Championships taking place in Oregon, US, after she bagged bronze for Israel in the marathon.

    Chemtai clocked 2:20:18, finishing behind Ethiopia's Gotytom Gebreslase, and Kenya's Judith Jeptum Korir, who scooped gold and silver respectively. 

    With the win, Chemtai made history by bagging the first medal for Israel as well as becoming the third Israeli in history to win a medal at a competition. 

    An athlete celebrates with a Kenyan flag after winning a race
    An athlete celebrates with a Kenyan flag after winning a race.
    AthleticsKenya

    She will receive Ksh2.6 million (USD22,000) for the performance in the championships.

    However, despite the good performance, not much is known about the Kenyan-born athlete whose love story has seen her become an overnight sensation in Israel.

    Chemtai's story was shared by Israeli Minister of Culture and Sports, Chili Tropper, who noted that passion and sheer determination led her to the history-making moment.

    Dating back to 2014, the 27-year-old traveled to Israel as a nanny working for a diplomat at the Kenyan Embassy.

    While still serving as a nanny, Chemtai casually ran in a nearby park, which attracted the attention of various scouts who connected her to an Israeli-based coach, Dan Salpeter.

    Intrigued by the opportunity to perfect her craft, Chemtai started regular training sessions under her new coach. The tow developed a close bond on and outside the track, ultimately falling in love.

    After her stint as an employee for the diplomat at the Kenyan Embassy, Chemtai returned to Kenya, with coach Salpeter following suit. The couple tied the knot in Kenya and then relocated to Israel. 

    "I am already Israeli, so I am part of Israel. Because now it is like my second home,” Chemtai stated in June this year during a previous interview. 

    Her bronze medal win was lauded by Israel's Prime Minister, Yair Lapid, who noted that her sheer determination and passion was the key element in the victory. 

    "Chemtai's willpower and determination bring pride to Israeli athletics and to the State of Israel as a whole. Lonah, you are a champion!" the Prime Minister stated.

    Lonah Chemtai and her husband, Dan Salpeter
    Lonah Chemtai and her husband, Dan Salpeter.
    Channel 10