The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) has mourned the late athletics legend Nyantika Maiyoro who passed on Sunday evening at a Kisii Hospital aged 88.
In a statement sent to newsrooms, NOCK president Paul Tergat has described the deceased as a legend who placed Kenya in the global map of athletics.
“We are very saddened to learn of the demise of our pioneer Olympian, Nyantika Maiyoro. This death has robed Kenya of an illustrious legend and very inspiring athlete who placed Kenya at the global map and opened the way for our athletics and, indeed sporting prowess”, Tergat said.
“As an Olympic Committee family, we feel the deep sense of loss by his family, friends and the entire nation and send our condolences and sympathies to them and our sporting fraternity, especially athletics,” added Tergat.
Maiyoro’s death came just a few days after NOCK had promised to come into the aid of the legend’s medical bill after his struggles were highlighted in the local media when he was admitted to the hospital.
“Just a week ago, when we learnt of his ailment, the National Olympic Committee of Kenya had pledged to support him and the family in the medical bills. This development, therefore, is a shock to us and assure them that we will stand with them in solidarity during this moment of great grieving,” the statement continued.
In the same vein NOCK has promised to come up with a way of addressing the welfare of legends whom majority have been left to anguish in poverty after their retirement in active sports.
“It is once again a reminder to us all, particularly those in authority, of the urgent necessity to find a way of addressing the welfare of our athletes and, especially those who have retired from their active careers in the short and long term.
“The National Olympic Committee of Kenya is already addressing this under our ongoing Strategic Plan development and hope that all stakeholders will find leadership and collaborate in this urgent area of our athletes’ lives,” Tergat said.
Maiyoro will be remembered being the first Kenyan to compete in Olympic Games where he competed for Kenya at the 1956 Olympic Games held in Melbourne, Australia in 5,000m.
He also competed at the 1960 Olympic Games held in Rome, Italy as well as the 1954 and 1958 Commonwealth Games.