Athletics legend's family to benefit from Veterans fund

Monday July 27 2020

Athletics legend Ben Jipcho. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By Ayumba Ayodi

The late athletics icons Benjamin Jipcho and Robert Ouko are among former sportsmen and women who will benefit from the Veterans Cash Fund for the year 2020.

The Ministry of Sports has set aside Sh1.5 million annually to be shared by five sports legends who will have been identified and in critical need.

A member of the Heroes and Heroines Council, Rose Tata-Muya disclosed on Monday that besides Jipcho and Ouko, who are now deceased, former international footballer Tom Olaba and former international boxer Stephen Muchoki will get Sh 300,000 each.

Tata-Muya, who is also one of the beneficiaries this year, said the ministry is set to release the cash before the end of this week. 

“All is well and the ministry has already fast-tracked the release of the funds that will mostly go towards medical expenses,” said Tata-Muya, adding that the next of kin for the late Jipcho and Ouko will be handed the cash.

Tata-Muya said that the flat rate of Sh 300,000 that has been set aside for each of five athletes was agreed upon sometimes back to help those who are in dire need.


“It will rotate across all sports disciplines in the country,” said Tata-Muya.

Tata-Muya said already five former sportsmen benefited last year from the veterans' fund- the late footballers Joe Kadenge and Mahmoud Mohamed as well as the late boxer Dick “Tiger” Murunga.

Kadenge took his final bow in July last year, while Mohamed and Murunga passed on in 2018.

The other is former football international Peter Dawo, who got Sh 500,000 to help him clear his medical bills.

Ouko, a member of the 4x400 metres relay team that won gold for Kenya at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, passed on aged 70 on August 18 last year. Ouko, who had been ailing for a while, died at his Ngong home.

Jipcho, the 1972 Olympic Games 3,000m steeplechase silver medallist, died on Friday last week while undergoing treatment in Eldoret. He was 77.

Tata-Muya, who has also been in-and-out of hospital battling kidney ailment, said Olaba is currently hospitalised in Dodoma, and the cash will help settle his medical bills.

“We really appreciate this so far but I want to urge the government to speed up the proposals we made for the heroes and heroines,” said Tata-Muya, who represents athletics at the Heroes and Heroines Council.

“It’s sad this cash will only benefit the next of kin for some of our legends who have passed on. How I wish they could get it before passing on just to feel appreciated,” said Tata-Muya.

Tata-Muya disclosed that among the proposals made include a medical scheme and pension for the veterans.

“I am told the Ministry of Sports has already forwarded the proposals to the Parliamentary Committee for sports,” said Tata-Muya.