Kenya: Nairobi MCAs Approve Motion to Rename Aerodrome Road After Wakiihuri

Nairobi County has commenced the process of renaming Aerodrome Road in Nairobi in honour of celebrated long-distance runner Douglas Wakiihuri.

This follows passage of a motion by the Nairobi County Assembly calling for the renaming of the road next to Nyayo Stadium to Wakiihuri Road as a tribute to the First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta's trainer.

Through a motion by Woodley MCA Mwangi Njihia, the assembly called upon City Hall and the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) to rename Aerodrome Road as a tribute to Wakiihuri's contributions to the world of athletics and the society at large.

Mr Njihia pointed out that Mr Wakiihuri is regarded as one of the pioneers of marathon championship in Kenya after winning Kenya's first gold medal at 1987 World Championships in Rome.

Further, he said the athletics icon has been involved in developing and emerging talents in Nairobi's informal settlements through his club, Kibera Running Club. Though the club, Mr Wakiihuri has been providing breakfast on running days for Kibera kids.

The first-term ward representative went on to state that the decorated athlete is also involved with Mrs Kenyatta's Beyond Zero Campaign, as the First Lady's coach, a drive that has contributed immensely to the health of many women and children in the country by improving maternal and child health care.

"Further recognising that Wakiihuri opened up for Kenya to the world of marathon by inspiring many Kenyans who have gone to win various marathons across the globe," said Mr Njihia.

Mr Wakiihuri is the first Kenyan to win the London Marathon in 1989, and is the founding director of Nairobi Sotokoto Safari Half Marathon Limited, Board Member of Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya and Special Olympics, Kenya among other enviable decorations.

He also won a gold medal in the marathon at the 1987 World Championships in Rome, becoming the first male Kenyan runner ever to win such an accolade at World Championships or Olympic Games until 2007, when Luke Kibet became a world champion.

Mr Njihia said the country has since independence named and renamed roads and other public facilities in honour of heroes and heroines who have contributed immensely to the development of the Republic and Mr Wakiihuri is no exception.

In February, Kapiti Crescent Road in South B was renamed to Joe Kadenge Road by City Hall in honour of the late football legend Joe Kadenge.

"Naming of roads and other public places after heroes and heroines bestows honour and shows gratitude to such people. We are concerned that there are heroines and heroes who have not had similar honours bestowed upon them despite their immense contributions to this country," he said.

On Friday, Japanese government conferred one of its highest national honours, the "Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays" on Mr Wakiihuri.

The honour is one of the highest orders under the Order of the Rising Sun established in 1875 by Emperor Meiji. It was the first national decoration awarded by the Government of Japan.

Mr Wakiihuri is also a Commonwealth Games marathon gold medalist, Olympic Games silver medalist, among other honours.

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