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Olympic Glory Trailblazer Wilson Kiprugut passes on

Kenya’s Outstanding Olympic Glory Trailblazer Mr. Wilson Kiprugut Chumo has died at his Kericho home after a long illness.

Speaking to Kenya News Agency, Mr. Kiprugut’s grandson Felix Rotich confirmed that the renowned Kenyan middle-distance legend died on Tuesday 1st November 2022 after he collapsed while at home.

Rotich was Mr. Kiprugut’s caretaker who said he will greatly miss his legendary grandfather who taught him life skills and values necessary to succeed in life.

“I enjoyed taking care of my grandfather who inspired me and the rest of our family and friends with the wisdom he had acquired over the years,” said Rotich.

The 84-year-old champion who lived in Kipchebor village in Ainamoi Sub-County, Kericho County earned the country great honor in 1964 for being Kenya’s first Olympic medal winner in the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Last year, when KNA paid a courtesy call to him at his home, he narrated his journey as an athlete saying he began running as a child, while at Kaptebeswet Primary School and Sitotwet Intermediate School, and his talent was first identified when he ran at the East and Central African Championships, an event where he won no less than three 880-yard titles.

“Back then, even in international races we really feared the white man. We thought he was powerful in everything and that no African could outrun them. But we decided to be strong and give it a try. To everyone’s surprise, we defeated them by far and our morale was boosted from then henceforth,” said Mr. Kiprugut.

According to Rotich, Mr. Kiprugut’s 13 years in athletics can be attributed to his hard work and discipline, and advised young athletes to emulate him so as to remain grounded and successful in life even after retiring from the sporting world.

Many years later after he retired from the sporting world, accolades continued to flow in Mr. Kiprugut’s life as evidenced in the recent awards by Athletics Kenya in recognition of his pioneering in the Olympics for the country.

Last year June, the National Olympic Committee of Kenya also honored the international icon as Kenya’s outstanding Olympic trailblazer.

Interestingly, none of Mr Kiprugut’s 9 children took up athletics.

In the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Mr. Kiprugut scooped a bronze in the 800 meters while in the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City he won a silver medal in 800 metres race.

In 1965 all Africa Games in Brazzaville he won gold medals for the 400 meters race and 800 meters and in the 1966 Commonwealth Games in Kingston, he won a Silver in 880 yards.

By Kibe Mburu

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