18 March 2019

Kenya: Former Athlete Daniel Rudisha Buried in Kilgoris

Former international athlete Daniel Rudisha, 74, who passed away two weeks ago, was on Monday laid to rest in a solemn send off at his home in Kilgoris, Narok county.

The burial was flocked by former and current athletes among them Kipchoge Keino, Billy Konchella, Fatwell Kimaiyo, Moses Tanui, Hezekiel Kemboi and Milcah Chemos among others.

Speeches of praises on how Rudisha represented the country well in international events characterised the event that was attended by thousands.

His daughter, Elizabeth Tanchu, shed tears and eulogised his father was a pillar of their family and the gap his death has left.

"God was passing through his garden and decided to pick a rose flower and surprisingly it was my dad, it's well, it's well," she lamented.

Rudisha was one of Kenya's finest elite athletes having represented the country during the Commonwealth Games in 1964 in Kingston, Jamaica.

Four years later, he participated in the Olympics games in Mexico alongside Hezekiah Nyamao, Charles Asati and the late Naftali Bon, winning silver in the 4x400 yards relay.

In 1972, the firm foundation they had laid, saw Charles Asati, Hezekiah Nyamao, Robert Ouko and the late Julius Sang team up in Munich to elevate the title to gold.

He later retired from athletics and joined teaching, where he became the inspector of schools in charge of teachers' discipline.

As an athletics coach, he left a good mark having nurtured athletes such as Billy Konchella, Stephen Marai and his son David Rudisha.

When his turn came, Billy Konchella challenged the county government of Narok to construct one stadium and a talent academy and name them after Daniel Rudisha.

"The county government should construct a stadium in this region as a sign of honouring this hero who nurtured many of us," said Konchella.

While raising concerns on how sportsmen are neglected in the country, he petitioned the national government to give former Olympians a monthly stipend as a majority of them are leading poor lives.

On his side, Kipchoge Keino lamented over the high rate at which Olympians are dying.

"It is sad that today we are laying to rest another sports icon less than two weeks since we attended Nyandika Mayioro's funeral in Kisii county."

Singling out the outstanding records that the former athletes managed during post-independence, Keino lamented that the government has not honoured them in any way.

Narok county Senator Ledama Ole Kina, who attended the burial, pledged to kick-start the construction of a stadium in the region, however he failed to give the time span.

Rudisha leaves behind two widows and 20 children.

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