By James Munyeki
As the world celebrates the first anniversary since the death of the late Olympic champion Samuel Wanjiru, local athletics fraternity is still yet to recover from the shock of his death.
Many athletes believe a better replacement is yet to be found for the late hero who conquered the world.
The late marathoner died at his Nyahururu home after allegedly falling from the balcony of his house on May 16 last year.
One year down the line, bearing the loss has been hard for his family the athletics fraternity in Nyandarua and the country at large.
Wanjiru, known as the ‘pride of Nyandarua’ due to his excellent performance in long distance races, first hit news when he won the Fukuoka International cross-country at the age of 16 in 2003.
By then, he was living in Japan after he got a scholarship.
He retained the same title in 2004 and went on to win the Chiba International cross-country the same year.
“This is when we knew we had born a champion. By winning the two titles, the country was proud of him,” says his former coach Robert Kioni.
Little did Kenyans know that better things were forthcoming.
At the age of 18, Wanjiru broke the half marathon world record in 2005 in the Rotterdam Half Marathon in a time of 59.16, beating Paul Tergat’s half-marathon record of 59.17 minutes.