•Momanyi is the director of Gusii Sports Legends, a group bringing together former and current athletes
•“National and county government should honour heroes and heroines when they are alive,”— Momanyi
National and county governments have been told to honour sportsmen and women who brought fame to the country while still alive.
Veteran athletics coach and former Athletics Kenya (AK) Nyanza South chairman Alfred Momanyi said most athletes who represented the country in international events in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s are living a life in squalor.
Momanyi, who is the director of Gusii Sports Legends, a group bringing together former and current athletes, noted that heroes and heroines should not be recognised when they are dead.
“National and county government should honour heroes and heroines when they are alive. Over the years, they have been ignored them and it’s time they are properly honoured and decorated,” said Momanyi, who founded the first athletics club in Kisii – Mwanyagetinge.
Momanyi, who is currently based in the US, proposed that the heroes and heroines should have streets in major urban centres and sports facilities named after them.
He reiterated his earlier proposal that Gusii Stadium should be renamed after pioneer Kenyan athlete Nyantika Maiyoro while Manga Stadium in Nyamira should be renamed after either Olympic gold medallists the late Naftali Temu, Robert Ouko or Charles Asati.
“They should also be given monthly cash stipends because most of them are elderly and are suffering from various ailments,” he added.
He spoke days after the death of former middle and long distance athlete Ben Jipcho. Jipcho, 77, was an Olympic, All African Games and Commonwealth champion from 1968 to 1975. Momanyi joined athletics fraternity in mourning the death of Jipcho. He will be buried on Friday at his home in Kisawai village in Trans Nzoia County.
President Uhuru Kenyatta sent a message of condolence to Jipcho's family 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.
Deputy President William Ruto eulogised Jipcho as a champion and one of Kenya’s athletics powerhouses.