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Ben Jipcho burial date set for Friday

Sunday July 26 2020
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Athletics legend Ben Jipcho. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By Bernard Rotich

The 1968 Olympics 1,500m silver medalist Ben Jipcho, who died on Friday, will be interred at his home in Kisawai village in Trans Nzoia County on Friday.

According to his son, David Kwenden, the family settled on Friday after wide consultations with government officials and the athletics fraternity.

“We had wide consultations with government officials and Athletics Kenya officials and we settled for Friday. We shall have a fundraising on Wednesday to help us cater for burial expenses,” said Kwenden.

He said that his father was a great man and he was respected worldwide and they will be giving him a good sendoff.

“It’s unfortunate that he left us at this time of Covid-19 pandemic where there are guidelines for burials. We are planning to give him a good sendoff because he was an icon and was respected in the whole world due to his rich history in athletics,” said the son.

Athletics Kenya president told Nation Sport that as a federation, they are in touch with the family.  

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"Preparations for Jipcho's burial are ongoing and as a federation we shall support the family. Jipcho was an icon and he has to be given a befitting sendoff," said Tuwei.

Many have eulogised the former athlete as a hardworking man who would always go for the best, especially during his athletics days.

Kipchoge Keino who trained and competed with him on various events across the globe said that he was good at crafting deals on how to bag a medal.

“We used to plot with Jipcho on how to win races and even at one time during the 1968 Olympics Games in Mexico, he assisted me to bag my first gold medal in the 1,500m. We are mourning an icon and we are together with his family at this trying moment,” said Kipchoge.

Jipcho, who started his athletics career in the 1960’s, 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 a race he eventually finished in 10th position.

In 1970, Jipcho won a silver medal in the 3,000m steeplechase at the Edinburg Commonwealth Games in 1970 before bagging silver medal at the Olympics Games held in Munich in 1972 where he also participated in the 3,000m steeplechase.

In 1973, he participated in the All Africa Games in Lagos, Nigeria where he enrolled for two races, bagging gold medals in the 5,000m and 3,000m steeplechase.

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 in New Zealand.

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