NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 24 – Kenya’s first Olympian Nyantika Maiyoro has passed on at a Kisii Hospital on Sunday aged 88 years after being diagnosed with Tuberculosis.
Maiyoro who was Kenya’s first ever Olympian at the Melbourne Games in Australia in 1956 has been in and out of hospital for the last few years and had trouble clearing his bills until the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) came to his aid.
Nyantika who was admitted after he had complained of chest pains for about three months ago, went to a coma before breathing his last Sunday evening.
NOCK acting Secretary General, Francis Mutuku who has been in contact with the family confirmed the sad news, promising to stand with the family in this difficult period.
“We (NOCK) have been in touch with Nyantika family on daily basis and in the last few hours he had gone into a coma, but he passed on later. As NOCK we promise to support the family as we strive to improve the farewell of other athletes who have done Kenya proud in the past,” Mutuku said.
On Monday February 18, The Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i had moved in to rescue pioneer Olympian who was also fighting off land grabbers who have encroached on his 15-acre parcel of land awarded at independence by Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, for his athletics achievements.
The track legend, who in 1953 won 3000m at the Indian Ocean Games in Madagascar and went ahead to become Kenya’s first Olympian in 1956 in Melbourne competing in 5000m where he finished seventh, clocking 13:53:25, is among the pioneer athletes who inspired a generation of runners and positioned Kenya to the global stardom in athletics.
-Another former athlete also dies-
It was a black Sunday for the athletics family as they also mourned the passing on of former Commonwealth Games javelin bronze medallist, John Mayaka.
Mayaka, born on in 1948 in Nyamira County, died on Saturday morning at the Nyamira Level Five Hospital, his daughter, Stella Mayaka, confirmed.
Mayaka participated at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, New Zealand, and 1978 in Edmonton. His best throws were 77.56 metres in Christchurch and 70 metres in Edmonton.
Mayaka is survived by a wife and eight children.
By the time of his death, Mayaka was a member of Athletics Kenya Nyamira County and had worked in the Armed Forces during his athletics years until his retirement on early 1990s.
Athletics Kenya (AK) President, Lt Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei sent his condolences to the family of the late Mayaka, AK Nyamira, AK Nyanza South and the entire athletics fraternity.
“I have known Mayaka as a great athlete in the Armed Forces and I am saddened by his demise. May the Lord rest his soul in eternal peace,” Tuwei mourned.
“We are mourning a great athlete who rose through difficulty to the apex of his career during those formative years of Kenya scaling the heights of global athletics success,” AK Nyanza South Chairman, Peter Angwenyi, said in his message of condolence.
Others who sent their condolences were former legends Charles Asati, Hezekiah Nyamau, AK Nyamira County chairman Sam Michieka and AK Nyanza South Treasurer David Ogechi.