Kenya: Athletics Icon Robert Gwaro Ouko Dies Aged 70

Robert Gwaro Ouko served as the secretary general of the Kenya Amateur Athletics Association, the forerunner of Athletics Kenya.
19 August 2019

Robert Gwaro Ouko, a member of 4x400 metres relay team that won gold for Kenya at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, has passed on aged 70.

Ouko, who has been ailing for a while, died at 10pm on Sunday night at his Ngong home.

His death leaves two surviving members of that famous quartet -- Charles Asati and Hezekiah Nyamao -- as the other team member, Julius Sang, died on April 9, 2004.

Ouko had long sought medical assistance from the government without much success, raising concerns over the role of the National Heroes Council on the plight of many Kenyan legends.

"My brother and our legend Robert Ouko. I have struggled for you until the last minute until God decided to take you away," Rose Tata Muya, a track legend, said in a statement Monday morning.

"The financial support which have been lying and waiting to signed at the Ministry (of Sport) for one month could have assisted you for medication," she added.

NEGLECT

Ms Tata said she was shocked by the news of his death since when the spoke on Saturday, she had wanted him to meet the Sports Principal Secretary "to release the cash but everything was beyond my control."

"I know you passed on with a lot of pain, struggling for assistance. We loved you but God loved you more. RIP our beloved Shuja," Tata said in the emotional statement.

Similar sentiments were echoed by Mr Asati.

"It's sad that we have been neglected and Robert died suffering. But we thank God each morning that we wake up because it is He who keeps us going," said Ouko's 1972 Olympic gold medal winning teammate Asati, 73, from his Kisii home.

Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei and the association's Nyanza South branch chairman Peter Angwenyi also sent messages of condolences to Ouko's family.

GOLD

Ouko also won two gold medals at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, in the 800 metres and the 4x400 metres relay.

Upon retirement, he also served as secretary general of the Kenya Amateur Athletics Association, the forerunner of Athletics Kenya.

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