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Former sprinter Ondiek dies in Nairobi

By | Updated Sat, July 16th 2011 at 00:00 GMT +3

By Omulo Okoth

Kennedy Ondiek, one of the best sprinters Kenya has produced, died on Thursday.A neighbour told FeverPitch Ondiek might have taken his own life. Detals were, however scanty.

Ondiek, who died at the age of 45, represented Kenya at the 1988 Olympic Games where he reached the quarterfinals in 100 and 200m. He was also part of the 4x100m relay team that reached the semi-finals. The others were Peter Wekesa, Simeon Kipkemboi and Elkana Nyangau.

He finished eighth at the 1990 Commonwealth Games 200 metres race.

He reached 200 metres quarterfinals at the 1991 World Championships.

At the 1992 Olympics he competed in 100 and 200m races, reaching quarterfinals in the latter. At the 1993 World Championships he reached 200m quarter-finals again. He competed at the 1994 Commonwealth Games, but did advance to finals.

During his era with 1990 African 100m champion Joseph Gikonyo, sprints would attract as many fans as it does at the international scene.

"It’s cool man," was his favourite response to post-race media interviews, even under searing temperatures.

"We’ve lost a great athlete," said Athletics Kenya Chairman Isaiah Kiplagat. "Ondiek and I discussed personal matters at length two weeks ago. That is a tragic end to a patriotic runner," said AK secretary David Okeyo.

Runners attending the National Championships at the Nyayo National Stadium received the news with grief. Kenedy Ochieng’, Nyangau, Boniface Merande, who ran with him and AK PRO Peter Angwenyi all sent their condolences.