Charles Asati ,a member of the legendary 4 by 400m relay men’s team that won a gold medal at the 1972 Olympic games in Munich says early preparations that began soon after their participation at the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico helped them to the fete.
The quartet made up of Munyoro Nyamau,Asati, late Robert Ouko and the late Julius Sang surprised many by winning silver at the previous edition in Mexico over the same distance and went on to upset the form book by claiming a gold medal in the race ahead of favorite European opposition.
‘’After the games in Mexico we began looking for what will make us do better in the next edition of the games which was in Munich. We went back to training on how to pass the baton ,have respect for one another and the coach among others ,so heading to Munich games we fine tuned our team tactics and combined with what we had worked on and succeeded’’,Asati told KBC Digital Sports.
Asati and the 1968 relay team belong to an exclusive club of athletes who have won Kenya a medal in the relays at the Olympics.
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Asati also won gold in the commonwealth and Africa games as an individual athlete competing in the 400m race.
Asati will be among 60 athletes drawn from across four generations who will be honored by Athletics Kenya marking its 70th anniversary as a federation .
‘’We last met as a group here in 2013 during the 50th independence celebrations and we are meeting again today to mark seventy years of athletics Kenya ,this makes the people catch up and relate more. we commend the federation for remembering the legends who pioneered it all’’,Asati said.
The enchanting history of running pioneered by brave men and women will be on show at Nyayo national stadium even as the country mulls over suitable ways of uplifting the former athletes’ social welfare.
A total of eight chairmen have steered the federation to date. Its founding chairman Derek Erskine who led the association between 1950-64 donated the piece of land where Nyayo national stadium is built as well the adjacent Riadha House,the athletics federation headquarters.
‘’Your Excellency in 1964 Derek Erskine and Haji Evans handed over the mantle of Kenya amateur athletics association K.A.A.A to the first African chairman Musembi Mbathi ,While handing over Derek and Haji donated the twenty three acres of land where Nyayo National stadium is built. We also know that Kenya boycotted the Olympic games in 1976 and 1980 in montreal and Moscow respectively the then chairman Prof Sam Ongeri approached the then president to donate the money saved from the two trips to use it to fence the land and in 1980 the government began the construction of Nyayo national stadium which was completed in 1983’, Athletrics Kenya president Jack Tuwei narrated during his speech on the September 26th during the reopening of Nyayo national stadium in an occasion attended by president Uhuru Kenyatta.
LIST OF FORMER AK CHAIRMEN AND YERS SERVED
1.Derek Erskine 1950-1964
2.Musembi Mbathi -1964-1968
3.Bartonjo Rotich 1968-1972
5.Sam Ongeri 1974-1978
6.Paul Boit 1984-1992
7.Isiaah Kiplagat- 1992-2015
8.Jack Tuwei – current