Former world 400m hurdles champion Nicholas Bett headlines great sportsmen and women that Kenya lost in the 2018.
Bett died on 8th August in a road accident in Nandi aged 28 as he was the first Kenyan to win a world championship title in hurdles.
Running his brother Aaron Koech won the two bronze medals at the African Athletics Championships. His career had seen him compete in 400m, 800m, 110m hurdles, javelin throw and 4x400m relay where he posted decent outcomes.
On August 21st, former Harambee Stars, Tusker, and Utalii midfielder Bernard “Makambo” Agunda passed on at his home in Umoja Estate.
The 41 year old player Agunda skippered the Kenya team that won the 2002 Castle Lager Cup under coach Jacob “Ghost” Mulee. He also featured in the successful Tusker side that won the 2008 Council of East and Central Africa (Cecafa) Club Championship in Tanzania.
Three days later, on August 24the former Harambee Stars player and coach Sammy Nyongesa died at a hospital in Nakuru.
Nyongesa is better remembered for his work with Nakuru Youth Olympics Centre in the 1980s. He helped mould some of Kenya’s best football talents of that time including Ambrose “Golden Boy” Ayoyi, Sammy Taabu and Dick Anyangu.
Rugby fans and players also mourned the death of former Mwamba rugby winger and veteran referee Osborne Bulemi on 11th October.
The 59 year old joined Kenya Rugby Referees Society (KRRS) in 1992, served as the society’s secretary and chairman, and also had a stint as referees’ administrator at Kenya Rugby Union. KRRS honoured him with a Life Time Award in 2016.
Come October 11th, Thika United captain Dennis Lewa died following a grisly road accident at Fort Ternan. Lewa, a promising footballer and Harambee Stars trialist, was heading to Kakamega to sign a contract with Kenyan Premier League side Kakamega Homeboyz.
Veteran boxer Richard “Tiger” Murunga aged 65 at a Nairobi hospital while undergoing treatment on October 27th. He had been confined to a wheelchair for many years. He won the boxing welterweight bronze at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.
Former star athlete Naftali Bon died on November 2nd aged 73. Bon, a former policeman, was part of the Kenya 4x400m quartet that also featured Daniel Rudisha, Charles Asati and Munyoro Nyamau that won silver at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.
On September 3rd, the athletics fraternity had mourned the passing on of one of Kenya’s best distance runner, Paul Koech. The 1998 World Half Marathon Champion passed on at Nairobi’s Forces Memorial Hospital after a short illness.
He was 49 and a co-opted member in Athletics Kenya Executive Committee. In 1997, Koech ran the third fastest 10,000 in history then, a race won by the great Paul Tergat under a new world record.
He won the Kenya national cross country championships an impressive three times and was a World Cross Country Championship silver medallist in 1998.
The latest incident is the sudden death of Charles Mukora. The 83 year old Mukora was the former chairman of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (Nock).
Mukora was the man behind the success of Olympic trailblazer Kipchoge Keino in the 1960s and 70s before taking up sports management in the late 70s.
Mukora made an impact as coach, administrator and politician. Mukora also coached Naftali Temu and was in charge, as head coach, at the 1968 (Mexico) and 1972 (Munich) Olympic Games.
He served as vice president of the Commonwealth Games Federation and enjoyed the rare distinction of having been an athlete, coach and administrator at the highest global level, representing Kenya in both football and athletics at regional competitions