Former London marathon champion Douglas Wakiihuri has been honoured by Emperor of Japan Naruhito.
This was confirmed today as former Commonwealth Games marathon champion is one of the highest honours in Japan, “the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays.”
The decoration was conferred by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan on April 29, the third year of Reiwa (2021) to acknowledge Wakiihuri’s great contribution to the development and promotion of the bilateral relationship between Japan and Kenya in the sporting and cultural fields.
The award was bestowed to Wakiihuri by Japan Ambassador to Kenya, Horie Ryoichi on behalf of the Government of Japan on today at his official residence in Nairobi.
Wakiihuri paved the way for the sport of running for Japanese works team as a foreigner, being the first Kenyan to do so.
“The sport has become common practice in Japan, which has seen foreign athletes training with young Japanese athletes, who go on to become world’s leading marathon runners,” said Ryoichi.
Happy Wakiihuri expressed his gratitude to His Majesty the Emperor of Japan and the people of Japan.
“I was passed a tasuki (sash), a sign of responsibility from Japanese people to continue running in the race of life,” Wakiihuri noted. “This decoration is not only for me but for all of you who cheered for me all through the race.”