What you need to know:
- He became the first Kenyan to win a medal at the Olympic Games when he claimed bronze medal in the 800 metres race (then known as 880 yards) at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
- In the 1968 Summer Olympics, he claimed silver medal in the 800m after clocking 1:44.57, coming second to Australian Ralph Doubell.
The family of legendary athlete Kiprugut Chumo has welcomed the decision to rename the yet-to-be-completed Kericho Green Stadium in honour of the runner who won the first medal for Kenya at the Olympics.
While presiding over Mashujaa Day celebrations at the stadium on Friday, President William Ruto said the 10,000-seater facility will be renamed Wilson Kiprugut Chumo Stadium in honour of the legendary runner.
The move was greeted by jubilation by over 10,000 people who attended the Mashujaa Day celebrations at the stadium which was upgraded in a record 45 days.
Close family members of the trailblazing athlete who passed away on November 12, last year at the age of 84 after developing breathing complications at his home at Kipchebor village in Ainamoi constituency, welcomed the announcement.
“Allow me to celebrate Kiprugut Chumo, the first Kenyan to win an Olympic medal by renaming the Kericho Green Stadium after him,” President Ruto said at the tail end of his speech during the Mashujaa Day celebrations held at the stadium.
“We are grateful for the recognition of our father who is a hero in sports locally and globally, by the president who has directed that the stadium be renamed in his honour, a year after he passed away,” Gideon Kipng’eno, who is one of Kiprugut’s sons, said.
Some family members at the stadium were surprised when the announcement was made as they had no prior knowledge of the plans, even though they had been invited to the function as guests.
“The fact that the recognition comes a few weeks before the first anniversary of his (Kiprugut’s) death is a blessing to the family, the sports fraternity and the country,” Sarah Langat, who is one of Kiprugut’s daughter, said.
Kipngeno and Sarah both said the family members were taken by surprise by Ruto’s pronouncement, just like all others who attended Mashujaa Day celebrations. Kiprugut lost his wife Ruth on October 20, 2020 after which his health started deteriorating. He passed on at Siloam Hospital in Kericho where he had been rushed for treatment.
He became the first Kenyan to win a medal at the Olympic Games where he claimed bronze medal in the 800 metres race (then known as 880 yards) at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
In the 1968 Summer Olympics, he claimed silver medal in the 800m after clocking 1:44.57, coming second to Australian Ralph Doubell.