Former Rotterdam Marathon champion Duncan ‘Jamaica’ Kibet has been battling with depression, attempting to commit suicide three times to evade the tribulations of this world.
Popularly called Jamaica due to his beard and fluency in speaking, Kibet was the second fastest marathoner winning Rotterdam marathon in 2:04.27 but tribulations befell the man after he picked an injury.
But worse than that, he claims that he was defrauded of his last property by a government officer.
Now living like a popper he says: “If I happen to get a hundred shillings now, I will really keep it, because I don’t know when, I’ll get another one. The good thing is that I accepted that I am down and I don’t drink. If I was a drunkard I would be really wasted…I could be dead by now, I hope I get justice.”
The former Milan marathon champion words from a man who at some point was worth millions of shillings, a champion who in 2009 won Amsterdam marathon in a record time of 2:04:56 making him the second fastest marathoner of all times, behind Ethiopian legend Haile Gebresellasie who was the then world record holder with a time of 2:03:59.
However, the last 10 years have not been so kind to Jamaica, as he is famously known, and he admits that fame and poverty don’t mix so well.
“It’s not a good thing being poor, it’s not a good feeling being a beggar, you understand? She made me to be a beggar”
Before a series of misfortunes engineered his current situation, Jamaica was a stylish, charismatic upcoming marathoner, his bushy beards spiced with his signature neck chain (bling bling), made him stand out whenever he lined up for a race.
“I could get the best I wanted because I had cash, I loved competing with chains, it was like part of my costumes”
At the time, he had it all, his childhood dream that pushed him to follow his elder brother for training every morning had come true.
“Apart from seeing my brother training, I also fancied travelling all over the world in a plane, competing in major races, winning and being famous”
Having almost broken the world record just in his second full marathon attempt, the future looked brighter, hungry for more success he started training towards the Berlin marathon the following year, 2010. He went ahead to line up for the race ignoring the small pain he felt.
“I dropped out at 30km because the pain became unbearable, I came home, a little bit disappointed but I knew I still had room to perform better, we started some treatment, the pain didn’t go down because there was a muscle called soleus and the healing process was very low”
The injury did more than just hurt his body; his pocket too took a hit.
“I could have started investing in 2010 because my career was just about to peak, but now injury put me out completely. This is now the 10th year, I have nothing, completely nothing can you imagine?”
Desperate to get back to the world stage, in February 2012, he decided to enter into a property exchange agreement to raise money for injury treatment, exchanging his Ksh. 9m worth of a property in Kapseret area in the outskirts of Eldoret town, with a Ksh. 4m one in Kimumu estate also within Eldoret town, with a plan to use the balance to seek treatment abroad.
“She was to add me five million on top of the property that we exchanged, so during the time of agreement she gave me 2 million and the remaining 3m was to be paid according to the agreement, I took the 2m and went to Germany for treatment, while I was away I could call her and asked if she had deposit the title with my lawyer so that he can transfer the ownership to my names but she played cat and mouse game”.
A move he would later regret as it turned out he had fallen victim to yet another fraud case.
“She frustrated me, because I never got the title and in 2015 when she gave me a copy I learnt that she had taken a loan with the bank which she was not servicing, when I was evicted from the property, I came back home to my mother.”
Homeless, penniless and Speedless Kibet returned to his parents’ house in an attempt to find peace, but his tribulations kept haunting him,”
“I used to wake up at 3 am for prayers. I won’t lie to you, I have tried to commit suicide three times, whenever I remember my property”
He says his attempts to get justice have proven futile since the person who defrauded him works for a powerful government organization and he suspects she is using her connection within the system to suppress him.
“I wrote a letter to the NIS, they told me to give them the lady’s Identification Numbers (ID) and details of which I did, since then, they have never replied”.
Now he is calling on the government and fellow athletes to stand with him in his quest for justice. As he wishes to hit the road once more.
“If I get justice like right now I get back on my feet, I’ll start training. I know myself, I feel the injury has gone down and I can run and I will also go back to school”.
Duncan ‘Jamaica’ Kibet profile
1. 1978-Born (second born)
2. 1984-90 Joined Kinyereri Primary (Class 1-6)
3. 1991-1993- Chebarus primary (class 6-7)
4. 1994 Cheramei primary (Sat for KCPE)
5. 1995 repeat class 8 at Tulwok-Ngetuny
6. 1996-1997 Paul Boit secondary (dropped out due to lack of school fees)
7. 2004 got married and blessed with two children.
His running accolades
1. 2002- Monaco marathon (8) -2:28.37
2. 2004 Lille Half marathon (1) 61:01)
3. 2004 Chassieu half marathon (1) 61:50
4. 2004 Trith-Saith Leger Half marathon (1)- 62:13
5. 2004 La Cochelle Marathon (2)- 2:19.52
6. 2004 Caen marathon (2)- 2:20.13
7. 2005 Delhi half marathon (2)- 62:18
8. 2005 Vitry-Sur Seine half marathon (9) 62:42
9. 2005 Boulogne Half marathon (2)- 60:53
10. 2006 Rock and Roll Half marathon (1)- 60:22
11. 2007 Saltillo half marathon (1)- 62:14
12. 2008 Vienna City marathon (2)- 2:08.33
13. 2008 Milano marathon (1) 2:07.53
14. 2009 Ribarroja del Turia half marathon (1) 61:37
15. 2009 Lagos Half marathon (1)- 62:09
16. 2009 Rotterdam marathon (1) 2:04.27
17. 2010 Lisbon Half marathon (4)- 60:21
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