Kenyan athletics legend Jipcho dies


Kenyan athletics legend Jipcho dies
From the Queen: Benjamin Jipcho receives the Olympic Games torch. (PHOTO/theafricantorch)

In Summary

  • The 1972 3000m steeplechase Olympics silver medallist and multiple Commonwealth champion Ben Jipcho, who has been ailing from prostate cancer, has died aged 77
  • Athletics Kenya (AK) Western region chairman Patrick Kipsang confirmed had died on the dawn of Friday at a hospital in Eldoret

The 1972 3000m steeplechase Olympics silver medallist and multiple Commonwealth champion Ben Jipcho, who has been ailing from prostate cancer, has died aged 77.

Athletics Kenya (AK) Western region chairman Patrick Kipsang confirmed had died on the dawn of Friday at a hospital in Eldoret.

“It is unfortunate that we lost Mzee this morning. He is one of the founders of athletics in the country and especially in Mt Elgon and western region at large it is a big loss,” Kipsang told Citizen Digital.

Jipcho won gold medals in both 5000m and 3000m steeplechase races as well as a bronze medal in 1500m at the 1974 Commonwealth Games held in Christchurch, New Zealand.

He also won gold medals in both 3000m steeplechase and 5000m at the 1973 All Africa Games held in Lagos, Nigeria.

Jipcho will however be remembered for his unselfish act that helped compatriot Kipchoge Keino to storm to victory over Jim Ryun in the high altitude 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.

He sacrificed his own chances for a medal to team tactics, he pulled Keino through a 56-second first 400 meters, before being passed by his teammate with 800 meters to go and drifting back into the pack. By that point, Keino had established a lead of 20 meters or more, which Ryun’s famous finishing speed could not erase.

AK president Jackson Tuwei while mourning Jipcho described as one of the pioneers of athletics in the country.

“Very sad indeed.  We have lost a legend, hero and one of the pioneers of Athletics in our country.  We pray that   GOD gives the family, friends and Athletics fraternity strength and courage to bear the loss.  May his soul Rest in   Peace,” said Tuwei.

The National Olympic Committee (NOCK) has also mourned the death of the legendary athlete.

“We at NOC-K are saddened by the demise of our legendary 3000m steeplechase Champion Benjamin Wabura “Ben” Jipcho. Jipcho native of Mt Elgon won the silver medal in the 3000 meters steeplechase at the 1972 Summer Olympics, behind his teammate Kipchoge Keino,” read a statement from NOC-K.

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Story By Gilbert Kiprotich
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