SUCCESSFUL ENTRYWanyama and former Chesumei MP Elijah Lagat, the 2000 Boston Marathon winner, are perhaps the only ones to have secured two terms in parliament. Dan Shikanda, the chairman of AFC Leopards and former player for the club said public perceptions hinder the successful entry of sports persons in politics. “Sports in this country is not treated like an industry. People will ask what can that footballer or athlete achieve in politics because they do not take them seriously,” Shikanda, who was the running mate for Peter Kenneth in the 2017 Nairobi gubernatorial race, said.
POLITICAL AMBITIONSBut they were later voted in. As they serve their first terms, they inspire sports icons who want to try their hand in politics. For most Kenyan sporting heroes, political ambitions are often costly and has left many of them broke after losing in elections. Wilfred Bungei, the 2008 Olympic 800m champion, lost the Emgwen Constituency race in Nandi County to incumbent Alex Kosgey, the son of former cabinet minister Henry Kosgey. It was a different script in the neighbouring Chesumei Constituency, where incumbent Elijah Lagat, the 2000 Boston Marathon winner, lost to former high school teacher Wilson Kogo. Former Africa 800 metres record holder Sammy Kosgei, who was one time a nominated councilor at the defunct Nandi County Council, ran for Emgwen parliamentary seat but los in 2013. Emgwen – which was carved from Chesuemei Constituency – attracted three world beating athletes that included Elijah Lagat, Amos Korir and Sammy Kosgei. Ibrahim Hussein, the first African to win New York City Marathon and a three-time Boston Marathon winner, lost to Emgwen MP Elijah Lagat in the party nominations in 2007. Simion Bor, the 2006 Hong Kong Marathon winner, lost the Kosirai MCA seat. Wilson Kipsang, the former world marathon record holder, lost Keiyo South MP’s bid to Daniel Rono with a small margin. Wesley Korir, the 2002 Boston Marathon winner, lost his Cherangany Constituency seat to Joshua Kutuny. Christoper Cheboiboch, a runner up in Boston and New York City marathons, could not defend his Emsoo ward seat on a Kanu ticket. Gilbert Koech, the 2009 San Antonio Marathon winner in USA, lost his bid for incumbent James Murgor in Keiyo North Constituency. Koech, the husband of two-time London Marathon winner Edna Kiplagat, battled it out with former MP Lucas Chepkitony, lawyer Thomas Maiyo, Joel Kimaiyo and Kipchumba Matuma. Wilson Boit Kipketer, a former world 3,000m steeplechase record holder, could not retain his Kabiemit Ward seat while Charles Cherono, a former marathoner, could not defend his Kibigos ward seat in Elgeyo Marakwet County. Daniel Kipng’etich Komen lost Racecourse MCA seat in Eldoret. Komen has three world records –3,000m (indoor), 3,000m (outdoor) and two miles –under his belt. Komen, a glowing alumnus of Biwott Secondary School in Keiyo South, proved he was no push-over as he set the world outdoor 3,000m record of 7:20.67 in Rieti, Italy, on September 1, 1996. That was not enough, Komen went into annals of history as the only man alive to run two miles under eight minutes where he set the world record mark of 7:58 in Hechtel, Belgium, on July, 19, 1997. He then proved his mettle, setting the world indoor 3,000m record of 7:24.90 in Budapest, Hungary, on February, 6, 1998. Amos Korir could not retain his MCA seat for Kaptel/Kamoiywo ward in Nandi County.