Your are here  » Home   » Sunday Magazine

I bagged Kenya’s first Olympic medal

Updated Sunday, August 25th 2013 at 00:00 GMT +3


Our athletes have just done us proud at the IAAF World Championships, bringing home an impressive medal haul. It brought back memories of last year, when we were the top African country at the London Olympics.

It began in 1964 when Kenya’s impressive Olympic medal collection started, courtesy of Wilson Kiprugut Chumo.

The old man from Kericho County was the first Kenyan, and African, to win an Olympic medal when he bagged the bronze in the 880 yards (now 800 metres) race at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The 2010 Kenyan Sports Personality of the year (Soya) ‘hall of fame’ award winner remembers with nostalgia how tears of joy streaked down his cheeks as the Kenyan flag was hoisted for the first time in the history of the Olympic Games.

“To bag a bronze medal back then was no mean feat as we lacked proper training facilities, professional coaches and

even running shoes,” Kiprugut, in his early 70s, says.

The former senior sergeant in the army says he began running while a student at Kaptebeswet Primary School and Sitotwet Intermediate School in the 1950s.

He recalls taking part in the East African athletic championships in 1958, where army scouts identified his talent and recruited him into the then African Rifles. After completing the armed forces training, the humble man who now concentrates on small-scale farming activities a few kilometres from Kericho Town says he went back to training hard on the track.

Come 1962, he led the 4x 440 yards team, whose other members were Kimaru Sonkok, Peter Francis and Seraphino Antao, in representing Kenya at the Commonwealth Games held in Perth, Australia.

“I believe we would have won some medals, but unfortunately, some team members fell sick during the journey to the games,” Kiprugut says.

Nonetheless, three years later, Kiprugut won two gold medals, in the 400 and 800 metre races, at the inaugural All African Games held in Brazzaville, Congo, in July 1965. In 1966, he participated in the Commonwealth Games held in Kingston, Jamaica, and won another bronze medal in the 880 yards.

GO TO PAGE 1 2 Next »

Next Story »

More Stories
See More »

  • Where are the good spouses?

    People provide all manner of reasons why they married their current spouses. Some profess that they married for love, others say they did it for emotional and material support and a few admit that they married because they had suddenly realised that they were running out of time.
    Read More »
  • Walking to protect elephants

    The illegal trade in elephant tusks has soared in recent years. Poaching levels are exceedingly high—1,500 elephants have been killed in three years—making the pachyderms an endangered species.
    Read More »
  • Kenyans in the UK are trooping back home

    An interesting phenomenon is taking place in Britain — many Kenyans are packing their bags to return home.
    Read More »
  • In Nairobi, road safety not a guarantee

    For several weeks, Nairobi’s pedestrians’ way of life has been interrupted by law enforcement officers from the traffic police department and National Transport and Safety Authority.
    Read More »
  • Positive side of social media

    I recently attended a forum in which issues affecting teenagers were being discussed. I held discussions with a few teens and in our conversation I, as an adult, was accused of being paranoid about new technology.
    Read More »
  • The wholesome child

    Schools open tomorrow after a month-long holiday. Some children are excited about it while others would rather have their holiday extended.
    Read More »
  • We will overcome our problems as a couple

    Mood, like colour, has a range of hues, from happiness to sadness. It is the gloomy moments that sap your spirit and steal your day.
    Read More »
  • Accept that nothing remains constant, all things change

    English novelist Israel Zangwill remarked that everything changes but change. It is not clear what prompted him to make that remark, but what is known is that it is a fact of life that nothing remains the same.
    Read More »
  • OPINION: Is media forcing an agenda on Kenyans?

    Freedom of expression is good and having a free Press is great, but having a Press which shares information in a balanced and responsible manner is even greater. The media play an important role in highlighting issues to the public and shaping opinion.
    Read More »
  • Kenya, I Love You

    There is no denying that Kenya’s tourism industry has been experiencing a slump, thanks partly to events both beyond Kenya’s borders. Some of the that have happened within Kenyan have seen foreign governments issue adverse travel advisories that have kept new tourists away.
    Read More »

Find us on Social Media

Popular Lifestyle

Popular News