What you need to know:
- Former national team head coach and captain Hastings Ngala said that the player rightfully put Kenya on the tae kwon-do world map with exemplary performance and dedication.
- “I was your team captain for a good period of time and eventually became your national coach,”Ngala said in his tribute to Wamwiri.
The late Olympian Dickson Wamwiri, who represented Kenya in tae kwon-do at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, will be buried on Thursday at Ondiri village, Kikuyu in Kiambu County.
The 35-year-old Wamwiri died while being taken to Kenyatta National Hospital by neighbours after collapsing in the bathroom on Sunday morning at his house in Waithaka, Nairobi.
Kenya Tae Kwon-do Federation (KTF) Secretary General George Wesonga said that plans are underway to give the Olympian, who was brought up by a single parent (mother), a decent burial.
Wamwiri's mother, Wanjiri, passed away when he was at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Wesonga said Wamwiri, who is arguably one of the most decorated tae kwon-do players in the country, having won three medals from the African Games, had undergone surgery at some point having experienced repeated seizures.
“It seems the process failed to eradicate the problem and it’s sad to lose such a disciplined and dedicated person,” said Wesonga, adding that at one time the athlete slumped into depression after he lost his employment at one of the leading petrol stations in Nairobi.
Wamwiri shot to limelight when he won silver in flyweight at the 2003 Abuja African Games, before finally conquering the continent with victory at the 2007 Algiers African Games.
Wamwiri would follow up with victory at the African qualifiers for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in Tripoli, Libya. On his way to victory, Wamwiri stunned the much decorated Tamer Al Bayoumi from Egypt in the semifinals.
Wamwiri would lose his preliminary match to defending world and Olympic champion, Chu Mu-yen of Chinese Taipei, with a final score of 7-0. Al Bayoumi, who had won bronze at the 2004 Athens Olympics, went on to claim another bronze in Beijing.
Wamwiri would then settle for silver at the 2011 Maputo African Games.
“Wamwiri never lost his bouts locally and that inspired many youngsters to take up the sport,” said Wesonga.
KTF president Suleiman Sumba, who conveyed his message of condolences to the family of the late Wamwiri on behalf of the federation and tae kwon-do fraternity, noted that Wamwiri was the first Kenyan male exponent to have qualified for the Summer Olympics alongside Milka Akinyi.
“He is the best exponent the country has ever produced and well behaved. “It’s sad he slumped into excessive drinking and depression," said Sumba.
Former national team head coach and captain Hastings Ngala said that the player rightfully put Kenya on the tae kwon-do world map with exemplary performance and dedication.
“I was your team captain for a good period of time and eventually became your national coach,”Ngala said in his tribute to Wamwiri.
“Coaching you was easy because you understood and interpreted instructions fast.”
Ngala said the most outstanding display from Wamwiri was when he stunned Al Bayoumi in the semifinals of the Beijing Olympics qualifiers.