What you need to know:
- Saisi was part of a Kenyan male quartet, which clinched gold in the 4x400 yards (now 4x400m relay) at the 1972 Olympics in Munich where they clocked 2:59.83
- His eldest son Stephen Saisi said his father had been battling high blood pressure since October last year
- Athletics Kenya (AK) president Jack Tuwei eulogised Saisi as an athletics pioneer who laid the foundation for the growth of the sport through his exploits on the track
Plans are underway to give a befitting send-off to legendary athlete Thomas Saisi who passed away on March 30 in Kapenguria County Referral Hospital in West Pokot County.
The 75-year-old Saisi is a retired 800 metres athlete who finished seventh at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.
Saisi was part of a Kenyan male quartet, which clinched gold in the 4x400 yards (now 4x400m relay) at the 1972 Olympics in Munich where they clocked 2:59.83.
Alongside Naftali Bon, Hezekiah Nyamau and Robert Ouko, the Kenyans finished ahead of the English quartet of Alan Pascoe, David Jenkins, Dave Hemery and Martin Reynolds (3.00.46) and the French team of Gilles Bertould, Francis Kerbiriou, Jacques Carette and Daniel Velasques (3.00.65) in second and third place respectively.
His eldest son Stephen Saisi said his father had been battling high blood pressure since October last year.
“We are waiting for the postmortem to be done,” said Stephen.
Athletics Kenya (AK) president Jack Tuwei eulogised Saisi as an athletics pioneer who laid the foundation for the growth of the sport through his exploits on the track.
"I would like to send my sincere condolences to the family. Kenya has lost a formidable sportsman whose unrelenting pursuit of athletic excellence inspired a generation of phenomenal athletes who continue to fly the flag of our country internationally,” said Tuwei.
"He put Kenya on the limelight in the 60s and he will be remembered for his exploits in various events he participated in," he added.
AK West Pokot branch chairman Sammy "Skylap" Ruto said he was saddened by the death of one of Kenya's pioneer athletes.
"I visited him in Kapenguria referral hospital on Monday last week and he was stable,” said Ruto on Monday after visiting Saisi’s home with other athletics officials to fine-tune arrangements for the burial.
"Saisi was in Team Kenya for 1972 Olympics in Munich and he also participated in the relay event during the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Scotland. We are asking his fans ,athletes and friends to come and give our brother a good send-off as a true friend and a patriot, who devoted his life to development of athletics," he added reiterating that Covid-19 protocols will be adhered to during the burial ceremony.
Ruto said Kenya has lost a unique and an accomplished athlete who helped nurture many young talents.
“We have lost one of our pillars in athletics. We are here to mourn a hero and an accomplished athlete and we request our government to support the family,” said Ruto.
Saisi, who joined Kenya Police in 1964 and retired in 2000 as a Senior Sergeant, is survived by two wives and nine children.
He will be buried at his Kishaunet farm in Kapenguria, West Pokot County on Wednesday.