Ten sports personalities who died in 2019
1. Joe Kadenge
Considered Kenya’s greatest footballer of all time, Kadenge died on July 7. He was revered for his silky skills, deft touches and mazy runs at the centre of the pitch which earned him the popular phrase ‘Kadenge na mpira’.
He also donned the Harambee Stars jersey with much success before coaching the team years later.
2. Nyandika Maiyoro
Kenya’s pioneer athlete, Mzee Nyandika Maiyoro died at the age of 88 at the Christa Marianne Hospital in Kisii on February 24.
Maiyoro was among Kenya’s first three competitors in athletics at the Olympics, a breakthrough achieved at the 1956 Games in Melbourne, Australia where Kenya competed for the first time, then as a British colony.
In Melbourne, he featured in the 5,000m and finished an impressive seventh (13 minutes, 53.25 seconds) with Kanuti Sum finishing 31st in the marathon (2:58:42) while Joseph Leresae was 18th in the high jump.
3. Robert Gwaro Ouko
A member of the famous 1972 Munich Olympics quartet, Robert Gwaro Ouko died on August 19 aged 70 at his Ngong home in Kajiado after a short illness.
Ouko was a member of the 4x400 metres relay team that won gold for Kenya at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games after combining with Charles Asati, Hezekiah Nyamao and Julius Sang.
Like many Kenyan sports legends, Ouko died poor with nothing to show for the medals and fame he brought to Kenya.
His death left Asati and Nyamao as the surviving members of the team after Sang died on April 9, 2004.
4. Daniel Rudisha
Before David Rudisha, there was Daniel Rudisha. Daniel, father to David, was a silver medallist for Kenya in the 4x400m relay at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City and died on March 6, aged 73, after a heart attack at his Kilgoris home in Narok county.
His relay team-mates in Mexico City were Hezekiah Nyamao, Charles Asati and Naftali Bon. Four years later, Asati and Nyamao were on the 4x400m relay team that won gold in Munich.
5. Bharat Bhardwaj
At a time when Kenya is preparing to welcome back the Safari Rally to the World Rally Championships (RWC), it is sad that the man who brought it to the country in 1978 will not be here to see it.
Legendary Safari Rally navigator Bharat Bhardwaj died at the age of 75 at Aga Khan Hospital on December 10. Bhardwaj read pace notes for many drivers including legendary the late Joginder Singh whom he navigated to two Safari Rally finishes, second in 1969 and third in 1966, driving a Volvo on both occasions.
6. George Mng’ong’o
Kenya Cup side Mwamba RFC are mourning the demise of club legend George Mng’ong’o who passed on last week.
Mng’ong’o was one of the founders of Mwamba RFC and he featured as a scrum-half both for Kulabu XV, Kenya Rugby, Chairman’s XV, Kenya Select XV and Miro RFC XV.
Commonly known as Kajiwe, Mng’ong’o studied at Lenana School and the University of Nairobi. The economist, who was asthmatic, died at his residence in Nairobi aged 64 after a cardiac arrest.
7. Stephen Vedo Okumu
Barely two months after holding its elections, the Kenya Professional Boxing Commission (KPBC) was thrown into mourning following the demise of its International Professional Referee and Judge Stephen Vedo Okumu who died on October 7.
Okumu, a former Olympian and retired cop, passed on at the Kenyatta National Hospital where he was admitted a month earlier after having stomach complications.
8. Michael Rotich
Just two months after IAAF imposed a 10-year ban on him for agreeing to give advance notice of drugs tests to athletes and coaches for financial gain during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, athletics manager Major Retired Michael Rotich died on July 1 at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) in Eldoret.
He was head of Athletics Kenya North Rift Province and the team manager of the Kenyan athletics team for the Rio Olympics.
9. Patrick Cheruiyot
Promising Kenyan marathoner Patrick Cheruiyot died on October 18 just days after dropping out of a race in Austria.
Cheruiyot is said to have taken part in Graz Marathon in Austria, but had to withdraw after doing just three kilometres.
Volare Sports, an agency that was managing the runner, revealed the athlete would later complain of a headache before being admitted at a Nairobi hospital with malaria.
A CT scan made on his head established Cheruiyot had a brain hemorrhage and succumbed a few days later.
10. Moses Awuoth
Budding footballer Moses Awuoth who was taking part in a tournament in Kisumu died during a match in September.
Awuoth, aged just 16, was featuring for Rae Green Star Football Club when he lost consciousness during the game and was pronounced dead upon arrival at Wema Hospital.
The athlete, a form two student, had received first aid while on the pitch before his handlers rushed him to the hospital when his situation worsened.