President Uhuru Kenyatta has led the nation in mourning the passing of 1972 Olympics 3,000m steeplechase silver medalist Ben Jipcho.
Jipcho, 77, passed away on Friday morning at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Eldoret, where he has been receiving treatment.
Through the official state house Facebook page, President Uhuru eulogised Ben Jipcho as a pioneer athlete who helped cement Kenya’s profile on the international stage as a top athletics nation.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has condoled with the athletics fraternity, friends and family of legendary Kenyan athlete Ben Jipcho who passed away today at an Eldoret hospital. pic.twitter.com/wml4EWLp2H
— State House Kenya (@StateHouseKenya) July 24, 2020
Deputy President William Ruto and Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed also led leaders in mourning Ben Jipcho.
Ruto said he was heartbroken to learn the departure of Ben Jipcho.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed also tweeted;
It is with profound sadness that I’ve learnt of the passing of legendary athlete #BenJipcho this morning. #HeroJipcho will be celebrated as one of ????????’s most accomplished athletes whose excellence put ???????? on the global sporting map as early as 1968 at the Mexico City Olympic Games. pic.twitter.com/NwH1nOwGQZ
— AMB.(Dr.) Amina C. Mohamed (@AMB_A_Mohammed) July 24, 2020
It’s with deep sorrow that we mourn the death of Ben Webura Jipcho. He was not only an accomplished athlete but also exhibited a great sense of discipline that enabled him to conquer the world and establish himself as one of the greatest athletes ever. pic.twitter.com/0wPwo2qHYb
— Governor Hassan Joho (@HassanAliJoho) July 24, 2020
We at NOC-K are saddened by the demise of our legendary 3000m steeplechase Champion
Benjamin Wabura “Ben” Jipcho.
Jipcho native of Mt Elgon won the silver medal in the 3000 meters steeplechase at the 1972 Summer Olympics, behind his teammate Kipchoge Keino.#RIPBenJipcho pic.twitter.com/Ea56oqSLLm
— National Olympic Committee – Kenya (@OlympicsKe) July 24, 2020
A Champion, An athlete with the heart of a Lion, A Patriot. Thank you for the great memories Benjamin Wabura “Ben” Jipcho. My thoughts and prayers with his family, colleagues and friends at this difficult moment. Rest in perfect peace Champ.???? pic.twitter.com/vWA7G4QjxS
— Herbert Mwachiro (@HerboTawa) July 24, 2020
Jipcho started his athletics career in the 60s and 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.