Olympic legend Robert Ouko dies before realizing his retirement dream

By Stanley Ongwae: Monday, August 19th 2019 at 14:57 GMT +3 | Athletics
Olympic relay champion Robert Ouko dies at his Ngong home at the age of 70 [photo courtesy]

Olympic relay champion Robert Ouko, a member of 4x400 metres relay team that won the first ever Olympic gold for Kenya in the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, has passed on.

The 71-year-old died on the Sunday night while being rushed to hospital for treatment after developing complications arising from a long illness he has been battling since 2014. 

His death has now left two surviving members of the four splinters whose record stunned the world.

The two are Charles Asati and Hezekiah Nyamao.

Julius Sang, a member of the quartet, was the first one to die on April 9, 2004.

According to the family spokesperson Elijah Bosire, the legend has been battling leukaemia and diabetes for over five years. 

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Over the period of his sickness, he has been in and out of hospital, turning his retirement life into a miserable one. 

"He never enjoyed his retirement because of the sickness which has been constantly draining him and at a very high cost," Bosire said.

Before his death, the former sprinter developed difficulties in eating and swallowing.

"We were rushing him to the King David Hospital in Ngong but unfortunately he was pronounced dead on arrival," Bosire added. 

The family said Ouko's illness crashed his big dream of building an athletics academy at his Ngong residence and he was halfway towards completing the aspiration before the ailment took toll on him. 

After retiring from the track, the legend served as the Secretary General of the then Kenya Amateur Athletics Associated which would later be renamed Athletics Kenya.

Until his death, Ouko was living with his granddaughter after retiring from the Prisons Service.

Ouko also was the winner of the 800 Meters and the 4x400 meters relay in 1970 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games.

He is survived by three daughters after separating with his wife.

Nyamira Governor John Nyagarama, through his Gender and Sports Executive Johnston Obike sent his condolences to the family of the late Ouko whom he termed as a true hero and legend.

"Ouko brought incommensurable excitement to the entire world during his time and the good name he engraved in the country's books of history will live through generations," Nyagarama said.

Others who sent their condolences included the Gusii Parliamentary Caucus Chairman Joash Nyamoko, other MPs MP Ben Momanyi(Borabu), Vincent Kemosi(West Mugirango), Shadrack Mose (Kitutu Masaba) Jerusha Momanyi (Women MP) and Senator Okong'o Mogeni.

Achievements:

1972 Munich Gold in 4x400 Meters relay

1970 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games 800 meters gold

1970 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games 4x400 meters relay

He was Secretary General of the Kenya Amateur Athletics Association (current Athletics Kenya)

 

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