NYAHURURU, Kenya, May 16- The second anniversary of the untimely passing of Beijing men marathon champion, Samuel Wanjiru Kamau, was marked Wednesday in his hometown Nyahururu in a sombre ceremony where a mausoleum in his honour was unveiled as his lawyer claimed monies he won have not been remitted to his estate.
Hundreds of residents thronged his burial site in Nyandarua West County to celebrate the life of the Olympics marathon record holder and two-time Chicago Marathon winner whose demise after an apparent fall from the balcony of his Muthaiga Estate home in Nyahururu stunned the globe.
Among those present were his widow Triza Njeri, Nyandarua County Governor, Daniel Waithaka, County Speaker Ndegwa Wahome and former Ol Kalou MP Erastus Mureithi among other leaders as a community gathered to remember an icon who placed them firmly on the global map.
Conspicuously missing was his mother Hannah Njeri as his widow and her daughter Ann Wanjiru sang hymns and recited verses in memory of the late champion who was their sole bread winner in a telling reminder of the divisions among the family that reared their ugly head in the immediate aftermath of his death.
Curiously, daughter Wanjiru schools at Nyahururu’s Elite Primary School that is owned by the area Governor.
During the ceremony, a family lawyer of the late marathon icon took issue with the former athlete’s manager Federico Rosa whom he said has failed to submit dues from several athletics events that Wanjiru took part and excelled.
He regretted that two years down the line, the manager has been evading the family and efforts to inquire about his cash have been futile.
He also claimed that the manager has on several occasions tried to sue the widow for allegedly failing to refund some Sh2m he had paid to settle a court dispute that the late Wanjiru was facing prior to his death.
The lawyer called on the Athletics Kenya to take up the matter and have the money which amounts to millions of shillings remitted to the family.
He also urged the Government to intervene take up the matter and have the Italian manager forced to pay them.
The lawyer further accused the manager of harassing the family demanding that they owed him money.
At the ceremony, the widow remembered his husband as loving and one who always took care of his family.
The Governor urged youths in the County to emulate the late Wanjiru and exploit athletics as a way of living.
He said that both the National and County governments were committed to ensure sports facilities are utilized to the maximum to enable young talents achieve their dream.
A gifted and talented roadrunner, Wanjiru was born on November 10, 1986 and at the time of his death, he had excelled beyond many people’s expectations.
Many recall him kissing the tartan in Beijing after clinching the Olympic marathon gold medal in a record time of 2:06:32, the first for Kenya since its appearance at the Games.
Born in Nyahururu, Wanjiru – like many of his predecessors – went to Japan on an education scholarship in 2002; where he attended Sendai Ikue High School while training as an athlete.
In his spare time, he trained as a mechanic for the Toyota Kyushu company, which he represented while in Japan. He emerged from the country with a great reputation and twice broke the world half marathon record.
Wanjiru remains the solitary athlete to have won the World Marathon Majors crown twice in a row.
- Report by Peter Mwangi