By James Munyeki
Beijing Olympics marathon champion’s mother Hannah Wanjiru was conspicuously missing as members of the family and friends marked her late son’s first anniversary in Nyahururu town.
The low-keyed ceremony saw a section of athletes from the region accompanied by family members converge at Nyahururu Stadium where they held prayers Tuesday.
Among the family members present were Samuel Wanjiru’s wife Trizah Njeri, her two children, brother and the athlete’s grandparents. Wanjiru’s mother had earlier vowed not to attend the ceremony.
At the stadium, they observed a one-minute silence before they proceeded to the graveside where they laid flowers.
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And it was a sombre mood as the athletes recalled how they related with Wanjiru, who died last year after allegedly falling from the balcony of his house at Muthaiga estate, according to police investigation reports.
James Kashmir, who was his closest friend, recalled how Wanjiru used to assist other athletes.
“He was always there for his fellow athletes in terms of both financial and moral support. He was paying the school fees for my child. He was a brother, a colleague and a mentor,” Kashmir said.
“We have set this day to conduct prayers annually so that his memories will never fade. All athletes have decided they will observing a one-minute silence before training during this day,” he added.
Joyce Wanjiku who used to train with him in Nyahururu described Wanjiru as a mentor to many athletes in Nyandarua and the country as a whole.
“If it were not for him, many of us would never have reached where we are now. He used to pay for our bus fare so that we could participate in major races. He was like a father to us,” she said.
She regretted that it was a great loss to the country since no one would fit into his shoes.
Coach Joseph Kinuthia described Wanjiru as a go-getter. He said he would remember him as a man who always achieved what he wanted.