Kaptama High Altitude Camp to be named after legend Ben Jipcho-Wangamati


Kaptama High Altitude Camp to be named after legend Ben Jipcho-Wangamati
Jipcho, left, and John Davies of Wales in the steeplechase at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in New Zealand. Jipcho came away from the games with two golds and a bronze. Credit...Associated Press/NYT

In Summary

  • Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati has today said he’ll ensure the competition of the constructing of Kaptama High Altitude Training Camp in Mt Elgon.
  • The project was launched by former governor Kenneth Lusaka, the current Senate speaker but works stalled when Lusaka he lost the gubernatorial seat to Wangamati.
  • At the same time the governor said the facility will be named after former athlete Ben Jipcho as a way of honoring him, the people of Mt Elgon and Bungoma County residents at large.

Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati has said he’ll ensure the completion of the construction of Kaptama High Altitude Training Camp in Mt Elgon, in honour of revered athletics legend, the late Ben Jipcho.

The project was launched by former governor Kenneth Lusaka, the current Senate speaker but work stalled when Lusaka lost the gubernatorial seat to Wangamati.

At the same time the governor said the facility will be named after the former athlete Jipcho, as a way of honouring him, the people of Mt. Elgon and Bungoma County residents at large.

“As a governor of Bungoma I want to say that this High Altitude, which was initiated by Honorable Lusaka – and which I’m ready to complete – I want to say that I’ll take a Bill to the County Assembly to see to it that is it named after the late Ben Jipcho.

“It will be a way to honour him –  by the County Government of Bungoma.”

Jipcho who died aged 77 on July 24 this year won a silver medal in the 3,000 metres steeplechase at the 1972 Summer Olympics, behind teammate Kipchoge Keino.

He also won gold medals in 5,000m and 3,000m steeplechase at the 1974 Commonwealth Games held in Christchurch, New Zealand.

At one meet in Los Angeles, he set an indoor professional record for the two-mile; less than an hour later, he ran the third-fastest indoor mile ever.

As a professional, Jipcho said, he was running not for records but for money to help his family. After winning a mile race in a relatively slow 4:02.8 in El Paso in 1974, he told Sports Illustrated: “The $500 will buy some cows for my farm in Kenya. A winning time is always a good time. If the I.T.A. people want a sub-four-minute mile, all they have to do is come to me. With money.”

Additional reporting by NYT

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Story By Kaitano Nyongesa
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