Kenya mourns athletics pioneer Daniel Rudisha

Rudisha will be remembered as a pioneer who helped lay a foundation for the current crop of athletes.

Daniel Rudisha, a member of Kenya’s silver medal-winning relay quartet at the 1968 Mexico Olympics and father to 800m world record holder David Rudisha, has died, his family said Thursday.

David said his 73-year-old father, a former teacher who retired to become an athletics coach, succumbed to cardiac arrest in a hospital in Nakuru, northwest of Nairobi, on Wednesday night after a long illness.

“Our beloved father sadly left us last night. He appeared to be recovering well after he was rushed to hospital for kidney failure last week,” the two-time Olympic and world champion told AFP.

Athletics Kenya (AK) said Rudisha would be remembered as a pioneer who helped lay a foundation for the current crop of athletes.

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“Rudisha is among the first lot of athletes who represented the country, not for monetary gains but for the love of the game,” it said in a statement.

Fifty years ago, the elder Rudisha ran the anchor leg to earn Kenya’s first Olympic 4 x 400m relay silver medal, behind the world record-breaking United States.

Apart from coaching his son, Rudisha also mentored the careers of two-time world 800m champion Billy Konchellah and his late brother Patrick Konchellah, winner of the 1994 Commonwealth Games 800m in Victoria, Canada, and Stephen Ole Marai, a 1987 world championships 800m finalist.

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