Uhuru, Ruto lead in mourning legendary athlete Ben Jipcho

The Ministry will support his family to offset the hospital bill and funeral expenses through the Veterans’ Support Scheme.

In Summary

• President Uhuru Kenyatta sent a message of condolence to Jipcho's friends and family eulogising him as a national hero and pioneer athlete who helped cement Kenya's profile on the international stage as a top athletics nation.

• The Head of State wished the family of the highly decorated Kenyan athlete   God's comfort and peace as they mourn their departed patriarch.

Legendary Kenyan athlete Ben Jipcho
Legendary Kenyan athlete Ben Jipcho
Image: COURTESY

The Athletics fraternity in the country has been thrown into mourning following the death of the 1972 Munich Olympics 3000m steeplechase silver medalist Ben  Jipcho.

The 77-year old legendary athlete passed away on Friday morning at an Eldoret hospital.

President Uhuru Kenyatta sent a message of condolence to Jipcho's friends and family, eulogising him as a national hero and pioneer athlete who helped cement Kenya's profile on the international stage as a top athletics nation.

The Head of State wished the family of the highly decorated Kenyan athlete God's comfort and peace as they mourn their departed patriarch.

Deputy President William Ruto eulogised Jipcho as a champion and one of Kenya’s athletics powerhouses.

"Jipcho was a humble, courageous and tireless star who won silver medals in the 3,000 metres steeplechase at the 1970 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games and 3,000 metres steeplechase at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. Our sincere condolences to the Jipchos, friends and the athletics fraternity. Rest In Peace," he said.

Sports CS Amina Mohamed said Kenya has lost a formidable sportsman whose unrelenting pursuit of athletic excellence inspired Kenya’s generation of the greatest athletes on earth.

She said the ministry will support his family to offset the hospital bill and funeral expenses through the Veterans’ Support Scheme.

"It is with profound sadness that I’ve learnt of the passing of legendary athlete Ben Jipcho this morning. Hero Jipcho will be celebrated as one of ’s most accomplished athletes whose excellence put on the global sporting map as early as 1968 at the Mexico City Olympic Games," she said.

"We celebrate Jipcho now and in the years to come."

In August last year, Kenya lost another Olympic champion Robert Ouko who died at his home in Ngong.

According to his fellow former track athlete Rose Tata Muya, Ouko died  while chasing money from the government meant for heroes and heroines to help them when they are alive.