Athletics 'Hall of Fame' was launched over the weekend in Eldoret in a bid to bring together all the athletics heroes and heroines who have contributed over the years to the success of the sport. According the organiser and two-time Boston Marathon champion, Moses Tanui, the move is aimed at recognising the outstanding performances and contribution made by the retired athletes to the success of athletics in the country.
"This idea dawn on me some time back and it has taken time to actualise it," said Tanui. The former world 10,000m champion said he has set aside a room at his GrandPri Hotel in Eldoret, where equipment and history of retired athletes will be stored for public consumption. "We already have photos of the past heroes and heroines and we are looking for other things used to conquer the world," he said.
"The public need to know the background of the people who pioneered athletics in Kenya. Everything about them will be available at GrandPri Hotel in Eldoret," he added. During the launch, hundreds of retired athletes including the Legendary Kipchoge Keino, the 1978 Commonwealth Games 800m champion Tecla Sang, 1992 Olympic 3,000m steeplechase silver medallist Patrick Sang, 1972 Olympic 3,000m SC silver medallist Ben Jipcho and five-time world cross country champion John Ngugi among others were present.
Tanui said the reason behind the forum was to show Kenyans that our past athletic heroes and heroines are still alive. He, however, noted that most of them are living from 'hand to mouth' despite their contribution to the country. He called on the government to honour the retired athletes describing them as 'Great sons and daughters' of this country.
"I have been visiting them at heir respective homes and I assure you that life has not been easy for them," he noted. Tanui said most retired athletes who ran in the 80's and before have nothing to show apart from they medals as they ran at a time when there was no money. National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) chairman Kipchoge Keino congratulated Tanui for inventing the idea and going on to launch it. Kipchoge said he has asked the government to set up a sports lottery to assist sports development but the process was taking long. " If the lottery is set up, it will enable us build sports fields in each county and ensure the retired athletes get pensions," he noted.