Wilson Kiprugut Chumo, the first Kenyan and African to win an Olympic medal during the 1964 Olympic Games is dead.
The 90-year-old athlete collapsed at his Kipchebor home near Kericho town on Tuesday and was pronounced dead at Siloam Hospital.
Kiprugut’s last born son, Gideon Kipngeno said his widowed father succumbed to cardiac arrest.
“All along he enjoyed good health until he started having difficulty in breathing and collapsed at 1:30 pm yesterday. He wasn’t suffering from any disease. Though we are sad we lose him, we accept God’s will,” said Kipngeno.
Kipngeno described his father as a hero and said the old man proved his athleticism even in the face of death and died ‘while smiling’.
“He had a grin on his face as the cardiac arrest struck him. As he took his last breath, he lay on the ground and stretched himself and surrendered to his fate,” he said.
Kipngeno further paid glowing tribute to his late father as a generous man who area residents often came to ask for all manners of favours be it financial or material.
“He never chased anyone away. He always made sure that every visitor to our homestead did not leave before taking a cup of tea or a meal or even spending a night,” said Kipngeno.
He added: “For visitors who were passing by to other destinations and did not have enough money to travel, he would dig into his pocket and provide them money for transport. I can tell you, he was a very generous man.”
Kipngeno had appealed to Kericho Governor Erick Mutai’s administration to follow through with the proposals for the Kericho Green Stadium to be renamed Kiprugut Chumo in honour of the legendary athlete.
“We want the memory of our father to be kept alive. He brought so much honour and pride to the country and that is the least the county of the government Kericho can do for him,” he said.
Since Kenya first participated in the Olympic Games in 1956, winning medals proved a hard nut to crack.