Former UTEP track and field star signs deal with Nike

The University of Texas at El Paso.

A now former UTEP track and field athlete has signed a pro contract with the brand Nike.

The mid-distance runner Emmanuel Korir forwent his remaining college eligibility to start competing professionally.

“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.”

The athlete made his debut when at the Vanderbilt Commodore Invitational where he won Gold in the 800 meter with a time of 1:46.50. This was the first time the Kenyan native competed indoors for the first time in his career.

“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 No. 1 in the world in the 800 meter and top 10 in the 400 meter so he has the tools to become another household name for Kenya.”

Officials say the athlete went undefeated and set a world record at the New Mexico Cherry and Silver with 600 meters and a time of 1:14.97. He also became the first Miner to win the NCAA National Indoor title with 800 meters in a time of 1:47.48.

Officials say Korir also broke records during the outdoor season at the UTEP Invitational setting a time of 44.67. That title previously belong to Bert Cameron back in 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, Oregon, 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 800 meter before narrowly missing out of the final.

Official say Korir will return to El Paso to continue studying and train with coach Ereng.

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