Kenya: Praise Galore for Deceased Coach Mathu

One of the most decorated and widely travelled athletics coach in the country, Peter Mathu Titi was on Wednesday eulogised as an affable and a man wholly dedicated to promoting athletics.

Mathu, who died last week, was buried in his home in Karungubii village, Sipili location of Laikipia County on Wednesday in a ceremony that was attended by both active and retired athletes, coaches and his former colleagues in the Kenya Defence Forces.

Coach Julius Kirwa said Mathu had brought honour to this country when teams he took to international competition performed exemplary.

John "Warm-up" Mwithiga who brought a condolence message from Athletics Kenya top brass led by president Jack Tuwei signed off his speech in style with a call of "Peter warm-up, Peter warm-up" to the amusement of those assembled.

Meru governor Kiraitu Murungi said the county has plans to hold the first Mountain Running championship and had settled on Mathu to be the event director and also design the route for the event set for later this year.

"It was amazing to see Peter (Mathu) scale the 3000 metres above sea level route on the Mt Kenya ridges marking the route and you could not tell that he had any health challenge," Governor Kiraitu said in the message read by County Executive for sports Mercy Ndiira.

James Mukuna who is one of the organisers of Ndakaini half marathon challenged AK officials from Laikipia County and the neighbouring Nyandarua to come up with a race in honour of Mathu.

He also revealed that a random idea that Mathu and Nyandarua AK secretary Lawrence Miano had gave birth to the Ndakaini half Marathon.

Austrian athlete Thomas Krejci said Mathu was instrumental in ensuring the Run2Gether training camp they started together at Kiambogo village in Longonot was successful. The 2017 London marathon winner Daniel Wanjiru is a product of the camp.

While serving in the army between 1971 and 1996 as a parachuting expert, Mathu was the first Kenyan to attain the rank of a Ranger, a rank only given to highly trained and skilled combatants that later became known as commando.

Mathu was in charge of national teams that returned unrivalled results in various editions of the Olympic Games and World Championships. He was among first people to receive a diploma after undergoing a coaching course offered by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

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