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Athletics legend Ben Jipcho passes on

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By BERNARD ROTICH

The athletics fraternity is in mourning following the passing on of 1972 Olympics 3,000m steeplechase silver medalist Ben Jipcho.

Jipcho passed on early Friday morning at the Fountain Hospital in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County where he had been admitted for the last three days.

According to his daughter Ruth Jipcho, the legendary athlete died at 3am on Friday morning at the hospital where he was at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

“Our father had been sick for a while. He lost the battle at 3.00am in the morning,” said Ruth.

The daughter said that the doctor attending to him said that Jipcho’s condition deteriorated due to multiple organs failure.

“He was a loving father whom we interacted with well,” she said.

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“We are sad that he has left us and we are asking for your prayers at this difficult moment.”

Last week, Jipcho developed stomach problems and was rushed to Crystal Hospital in Kitale where he was referred to Eldoret after his condition worsened.

National Olympics  Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) President, Paul Tergat, mourned Jipcho as the founding father of athletics in Kenya who opened global doors to Kenyan athletes.

“We are saddened by the loss of Jipcho, a pioneer of athletics in Kenya. My heartfelt condolences to his family and Kenyans at large.”

Jipcho started his athletics career in the 60’s and he will be remembered as one of the first unofficial pacemakers after sacrificing chances of winning a medal to his compatriot Kipchoge Keino in the 1,500m race during the 1968 Olympics Games.

Jipcho claimed silver in the 3,000m steeplechase at the 1970 Edinburg Commonwealth Games before bagging silver medal at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games in the 3,000m steeplechase.

In 1973, he won gold in 5,000m and 3,000m steeplechase during the All Africa Games in Lagos, Nigeria.

In 1974 he bagged gold medals in the 5,000m and 3,000m steeplechase races and a bronze medal in the 1,500m race during the Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, New Zealand.



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