- It was a sad Friday morning as the athletics fraternity mourns as the passing on of the legend athlete Ben Jipcho, who passed on early Friday morning.
Jipcho’s daughter, Ruth, said the legendary athlete died at 3 am on Friday at the Fountain Hospital in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County where he was admitted for the last three days at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
“Our father had been sick for a while. He lost the battle at 3.00 am in the morning,” Ruth said.
The Doctor attending to him revealed to the family that Jipcho’s condition deteriorated due to multiple organs failure.
“He was a loving father whom we interacted with well,” she said.
“We are sad that he has left us and we are asking for your prayers at this difficult moment,” she added.
Last week, Jipcho developed stomach problems and was rushed to Crystal Hospital in Kitale where he was referred to Eldoret after his condition worsened.
Athletics great Kipchoge Keino paid tribute to Jipcho saying he is gutted with the news of his demise.
“Jipcho is a part of me. All my success was down to his competitiveness. We complemented each other and you could see his career also blossomed because of our partnership,” Kipchoge said.
“It is unfortunate he has left us. His place in the history of world athletics and Kenya is assured. May he rest in peace.”
He further reveals a moment of patriotism when, when Jipcho paced the race for him to ensure Kenya win a gold medal and finished Ryun.
“Jipcho was selfless, he paced the race for me and we finished Ryun. That was the greatest moment of patriotism. He could also have won, but he felt I had the better chance to win gold for Kenya, which did against a formidable American challenger at the time,” he said.
National Olympics Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) President, Paul Tergat, also mourned Jipcho as the founding father of athletics in Kenya who opened global doors to Kenyan athletes.
“We are saddened by the loss of Jipcho, a pioneer of athletics in Kenya. My heartfelt condolences to his family and Kenyans at large,” Tergat said.