Kenya's Olympic Journey 1956-2012

First published: Michael Kwambo, 2012 || Revisions; Michael Samora, 2016

Kenya has competed in almost every Olympic Games since making their debut at the Melbourne Olympics of 1956. With the exception of the 1976 and 1980 games which Kenya and other countries boycotted for varying reasons, it has been a long, winding journey filled with many firsts, highs and lows along the way too. We document Kenya’s journey over the years.



Competing as a colony of Great Britain, Kenya would make their Olympic Games debut in Melbourne, represented in athletics, hockey, swimming and shooting by a contingent of 25.  There were no medals for the team but notable results included Nyandika Maiyoro’s seventh position in the men’s 5000m final, Arap Sum Kanuti’s thirty first position in the men’s marathon and Lerease Joseph’s eighteenth place in the men’s high jump competition.


Kenya sent a twenty seven man contingent to these games, represented in athletics, hockey, shooting and sailing. Nothing much to write home about from these games as the team’s most notable performance was by Nyandika Maiyoro’s sixth placing in the men’s 5000m. 



Kenya were back at the Olympics for a third successive games, this time taking part in five disciplines namely, athletics, boxing, sailing, shooting and hockey. Future stars Kipchoge Keino, Naftali Temu and Philip Waruinge were part of the travelling party to the Far East as Kenya competed for the first time as an independent nation, having gained freedom from Great Britain in 1963.

800m runner Wilson Kiprugut’s third place in the final race in Tokyo saw him bag Kenya’s first ever medal at an Olympic Games. Kenya’s hockey team put in a strong display, claiming a sixth overall position in their discipline, a feat that would see them ranked sixth globally.



Kenya’s fourth appearance at an Olympiad would be a special one for various reasons. This was the first Olympics to be held in a developing country. Taking part in athletics, boxing, hockey and shooting, the Kenyan Olympic team were out to build on the sole bronze medal won in Tokyo four years earlier. 

Kipchoge Keino, by now a household name worldwide due to his distance running exploits beat the fancied American world record holder over 1500m, Jim Ryun, claiming Olympic Gold over the distance. 

Naftali Temu had earlier claimed Kenya’s first ever Gold medal at an Olympic Games, beating a strong field to win the 10000m while Amos Biwott, with his then unorthodox hurdling style that saw him go over the water jump in the 3000m/steeplechase and emerge dry, won the first of many Kenya medals over the distance. 

Keino (5000m), Ben Kogo (3000m/steeplechase), Wilson Kiprugut (800m) and   4x400m men's team ( Daniel Rudisha, Charles Asati,Naftali Bon and Munyoro Nyamau) would be Kenya’s silver medallists while boxer Philip Waruinge and Naftali Temu (5000m) were Kenya’s bronze medallists at a games where Kenya had announced her presence to the world with a big bang.

The Kenyan hockey team would place eighth in their discipline.


Having exploded on to the world scene with a bang, Kenya would be keen to replicate, if not eclipse their 1968 show. 

Kipchoge Keino, competing in his third Olympiad, ensured that Kenya would successfully defend the 3000m/steeplechase as he claimed gold in this race. Kenya’s second gold came from their 1600m relay quartet of Daniel Rudisha (current 800m world record holder David’s father), Charles Asati, Munyoro Nyamau, Julius Sang’ and Robert Ouko.

Silver medals from Ben Jipcho in the steeplechase, Keino’s 1500m silver and Philip Waruinge in boxing coupled with bronze medals from Julius Sang’ over 400m, Mike Boit in the 800m as well as Sammy Mbugua and Dick “Tiger” Murungu in boxing saw Kenya continue their medal haul that started way back in 1964.



Politics would come in the way of Kenya’s continued participation in the games, as they missed out on the 1976 games, boycotting with several other African countries in protest against the failure by the International Olympic Committee to suspend New Zealand from the games after it’s rugby team, the All Blacks, visited South Africa, which was then governed under the apartheid (segregation) system of government. 


This would be followed by another boycott in 1980, this time against the USSR’s decision to invade Afghanistan in 1979.

Emerging talent such as Mike Boit and Henry Rono would be unlucky to miss out on both games, especially when you realize that they were in the prime of their careers at this point in time.



Kenya had been away from the Olympics for twelve years, missing out as a result of politically instigated boycotts. Returning to the Los Angeles games in 1984, the country set out on a mission to continue from where they left off in 1972. 

Julius Korir reclaimed the 3000m/steeplechase title, following in the steps of Amos Biwott and Kip Keino before him. Bronze medals from boxer Ibrahim Bilal and athlete Mike Musyoka in the 10000m saw Kenya maintain their medal winning trend that started in 1964 with Wilson Kiprugut’s solitary bronze over 800m in Tokyo.

Sprinter Ruth Waithera broke ground for Kenyan women athletes, reaching the final of the 400m in Los Angeles, her time of 51.56 seconds a Kenyan record that still stands to date.



Heading into Seoul, Kenya had enjoyed some sporting successes in various disciplines. John Ngugi had won the World Cross Country championships in 1986, retaining it in 1987 and again in 1988. Kenyan athletes had dominated the All African Games in Nairobi. Douglas Wakiihuri had won the marathon gold medal at the World Athletic Championships in Rome. Kenya’s hockey and boxing teams were equally successful at these games. Crossing over to football, and though Kenya was not represented at the Olympics, Gor Mahia had won the African Cup Winners Cup in 1987 while the national football team had won silver at the 1987 All African Games in Nairobi. Indeed there was a feel good factor about Kenyan sport.

This feel good factor spilled over to the Seoul Olympics, where Kenya bagged nine medals, five gold, two silver and two bronze to crown their best showing since their debut in 1956. 

Four gold medals in athletics from Starehe Boys Center alumni Paul Ereng 800m, Peter Rono with Kenya’s first Olympic win in the 1500m since 1968, Julius Kariuki maintaining the country’s dominance in the 3000m/steeplechase and John Ngugi (5000m) were topped up by boxer Robert “Napunyi” Wangila’s gold in the welterweight division, the first ever by an African boxer.

Douglas Wakiihuri, the reigning world champion in the marathon claimed silver alongside Peter Koech in the steeplechase while bronze medals from Kipkemboi Kimeli in the men’s 10000m and boxer Chris Sande in the middleweight division made it a good outing for Kenya.



The class of 1988 was going to be a tough act to follow, many of the medallists from that squad had moved on for various reason. 

William Tanui and Matthew Birir won Kenya’s only gold medals at this game, Tanui making sure Kenya retained the 800m title won in Seoul while Birir continued Kenya’s legacy in the steeplechase. 

Nixon Kiprotich (800m), Paul Bitok (5000m), Richard Chelimo (10000m) and Patrick Sang (3000m steeplechase) were Kenya’s silver medallists. Sprinter Samson Kitur claimed bronze in the men’s 400m alongside William Mutwol in the 10000m.

Eight medals for Kenya at these games. A certain Tecla Lorupe finished 17th overall in the women’s 10000m final.


A further dip for Kenya in terms of medals, Joseph Keter sparing the country’s blushes by winning gold in the 3000m/ steeplechase, becoming the seventh different Kenyan to win this race. 

Paul Bitok (5000m), Paul Tergat (10000m), Moses Kiptanui (3000m/steeplechase) and Pauline Konga (women’s 5000m) were Kenya’s silver medallists. 

Bronze medals came from Fred Onyancha (800m), Steve Kipkorir (1500m) and Eric Wainaina in the men’s marathon.

Konga’s medal was particularly remarkable as she had become the first Kenyan woman to win an Olympic medal of any kind. 


Noah Ng’eny in the 1500m and Reuben Kosgei in the 3000m steeplechase were Kenya’s gold medallists. Ng’eny winning Kenya’s first 1500m Olympic title since Kip Keino thirty two years earlier while Kosgei ensured Kenya’s dominance of the steeplechase continued.

Paul Tergat was beaten to second place in an epic 10000m final by Haile Gebreselaise, settling for silver alongside Wilson Boit Kipketer in the steeplechase and Eric Wainaina in the marathon.

Joyce Chepchumba became the second ever Kenyan woman to win an Olympic medal, claiming bronze in the women’s marathon. Bernard Lagat claimed the other bronze in the 1500m.


Kenya would win one gold medal in Athens, the spiritual home of the games. The gold inevitably came from the 3000m steeplechase where Ezekiel Kemboi become the eighth different Olympic gold medallist for Kenya in this race. Four silvers from Bernard Lagat (1500m), Brimin Kipruto (3000m steeplechase), Isabella Ochichi (women’s 5000m) and Catherine Ndereba (women’s marathon) added to the Kenyan tally. Paul Kipsiele Koech (3000m steeplechase) and Eliud Kipchoge (5000m) were Kenya’s bronze medallists.

Kenya’s men claimed the first ever clean sweep of the 3000m steeplechase, taking all medals on offer while Ochichi and Ndereba became the third and fourth Kenyan Olympic medallists.



Kenya competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing, People's Republic of China from August 8 to August 24, 2008 winning a total of 14 medals, 6 of the gold, its best ever performance at the Olympics.

The Kenyan's sent a total of 28 men and 18 women to the 2008 summer Olympics. Four of the Kenyan men were credited for the six gold medals and two went to the women. The other eight medals were split down the middle with four silver and four bronze. Among the gold medalists in Beijing for the Olympics was Brimin Kipruto. He brought home the seventh straight medal in the 3,000 meter steeplechase for the Kenyans. This record dates back to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Coming in at a close third was Richard Mateelong who couldn't quite catch the Frenchman Mahiedne Mekhissi-Benabbad.

The 2008 Beijing Olympics was the first time the Kenyans had participated in the women's 800 meter event final. Shortly after the 3,000 meter steeplechase, the women captured a gold medal against many odds. Along with the gold, they also took home the silver as well. Pamela Jelimo led her fellow Kenyan Janeth Jepkosgei Busienei to a one-two finish.

Samuel Wanjiru (now deceased), was only  21-years-old at the time. He timed his marathon at 2 hours, 6 minutes, and 32 seconds. This not only brought home the gold medal for the Kenyans, but also broke the 24 year-old Olympic record set by Carlos Lopes.

The Kenyans finished the Olympics being the most successful African country in the Beijing Olympics, and 15th place in the overall country standings.

London, Great Britain 2012

David Rudisha became the first athlete to set a new world record on the track at London 2012 as he won 800m gold in his debut Olympic final. He become the first man inside one minute 41 seconds, clocking 1:40.91. Rudisha's Comments after the race were: "Wow! I'm very happy. This is the moment I have been waiting for for a very long time. To come here and to break the world record is something unbelievable."

Kenya went on to finish the 2012 Olympics ranked in a disappointing 28th position with 11 medals; two Gold, four silver and five bronze.  The second Gold was in Men's 3000M Steeplechase won by Ezekiel Kemboi. 

National Olympic Committee Kenya (NOCK) sent the nation's largest delegation to the Games, surpassing the record set in Beijing by a single athlete. A total of 47 athletes, 27 men and 20 women, competed in athletics (specifically in the middle-distance events and marathon), boxing, swimming and weightlifting. The Kenyan team featured four past Olympic champions: middle-distance runners Pamela Jelimo and Asbel Kiprop and steeplechase runners Brimin Kipruto and Ezekiel Kemboi. Among these champions, only Kemboi managed to recapture his gold medal from Athens, after winning the men's steeplechase event. Kenya's top swimmer Jason Dunford, who specialized in the butterfly and freestyle events, became the nation's first male flag bearer at the opening ceremony since 2000. 

(Table Wikipedia) 






Ezekiel Kemboi


Men's 3000 m steeplechase


David Rudisha


Men's 800 m


Sally Kipyego


Women's 10,000 m


Priscah Jeptoo


Women's marathon


Vivian Cheruiyot


Women's 5000 m


Abel Kirui


Men's marathon


Vivian Cheruiyot


Women's 10,000 m


Abel Kiprop Mutai


Men's 3000 m steeplechase


Timothy Kitum


Men's 800 m


Thomas Longosiwa


Men's 5000 metres


Wilson Kipsang


Men's marathon

Menengai Cream Homeboyz and KCB secured home semifinal qualification at the close of the Kenya Cup’s league phase on Saturday 25 March 2017.

Kenya has improved tremendously in the past year posting positive results that has seen them rise in rankings into the top 90 in the World.

Serial satellite tour winner Matt Wallace will look to continue the habit tomorrow on the European Challenge Tour as he takes a one-shot lead into the final round of the Barclays Kenya Open after an impressive Moving Day at Muthaiga Golf Club.

The Englishman was four shots behind overnight leader Adrien Saddier but his four under par third round of 67 took him to 12 under par, with Saddier and Aaron Rai his closest rivals.

The 26 year old was unstoppable on the Alps Tour last year, winning on five successive appearances before sealing a dominant top spot in the Order of Merit by also triumphing at the Grand Final.

Top ten finishes on the Challenge Tour in Spain and Italy last season also suggested he was ready to compete at this level and he was understandably delighted with his day’s work in Nairobi as he goes in search of the biggest victory of his young career.

“I played really nicely today,” he said. “Not actually as well as the last two days, but I gave myself a lot of chances today and managed to get through a scruffy patch in the middle and finish nicely again.

“I birdied the last two holes and did the same yesterday – I had a really nice yardage into 17 and decided to really attack it and stuffed it in there really close and 18 is always a really good birdie chance.

“I really approached today the same as all week, I was obviously four shots behind Adrien so I was trying to shoot as low as I could and post a good score, but I didn’t think I’d be leading – I’m there though and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

“I’m hoping to learn from this experience because this is definitely the biggest crowd I’ve played in front of, especially the last few holes there, with a lot of people coming down. They really appreciate the good shots so hopefully I can give them something to cheer again tomorrow.

“I’ve got a local caddie on the bag this week who’s been doing the job here for 26 years – as long as I’ve been living! I talk to him a lot because I find if I go quiet I lose confidence.

“He’s been very good so far because obviously he knows the course very, very well – there’s been a few club decisions where I’ve gone ‘really?’ and it’s turned out perfect, so he knows his stuff and he knows my game well, given we’ve only been together for three or four days.

“Last year’s success was massive for me. I try to dumb it down as much as possible and say it’s just golf, and it is, but hopefully I can take the performances from last year into tomorrow.

“Jordan Smith showed last year how possible it is to move quickly to the top of the Challenge Tour from the satellite tours. I play with guys on the European Tour, Callum Shinkwin in particular, a lot and I think if I can compete with him, I know I can do it out here too.”

Three bogeys on the front nine cost France’s Saddier his lead while Englishman Rai birdied three of his final four holes for a round of 69 and a share of second place.

Welshman Rhys Davies, four times a winner on the Challenge Tour, momentarily topped the leaderboard before a scrappy back nine left him one shot further back on ten under par.

Also well within striking distance going into the final day are South Africans Jaco Ahlers and Louis De Jager and Sweden’s Jens Dantorp, all of whom share fifth place on nine under par, just three behind Wallace.

Source -- European Tour

Lots of matches for World Cup qualifiers today. We have some betting tips for you

The Hockey and Rugby teams of Upper Hill School have registered positive results as this year's Nairobi region Term One A School games got underway at State House Girls and Nairobi School.

Upper Hill won 2-0 against Nairobi School in boys' Hockey and humiliated Jamhuri School 31-0 in Boys' Rugby.

But while Nairobi school salvaged their day beating Aquinas 38-0 in Rugby, Jamhuri's bad day continued suffering yet another humiliating 34-3 defeat against Muhuri Muvhiri  in Boys' Rugby.

In Other results Parklands Arya won 2-0 against Hillcrest in Girls Hockey and proceeded to 3-0 against Kianda while still in boys' Hockey, Starehe won 2-1 against Makongeni.

The games will continue on Sunday the 26th with the regional winners proceeding to the finals to be played in April. 

National Hockey Champions Friends School Kamusinga from Bungoma County were eliminated from this year's competition after a 1-0 loss to Kakamega County's Musingu High School in the finals of the Western region Term one A school Games. Musingu will now represent the region at the Nationals to be played in April.

In basketball Boys finals, Busia County's Sigalame High School white washed Vihiga's Chavakali 107-34 to seal to book a ticket for the finals. The games were played at St. Peters High School in Mumias. 

The Western Region will be represented at the finals by the following schools;


Musingu High School - Boys 

Misikhu High School - Girls 


Sigalame High School - Boys

Tigoi High School - Gils 


Good news for the Blues! Eden Hazard is reportedly set to return to training next week as he continues his recovery from a calf injury.

Liverpool will welcome back Steven Gerrard this Saturday as the adored son of the Kop makes a return to his boyhood Club.

Manchester City and England goalkeeper Joe Hart has spoken about his life at Italian side Torino and where he wants to be next.

Aussie gun Daniel Ricciardo has crashed out during qualifying for the Melbourne Grand Prix.

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel beat his own lap record at Albert Park as he topped the time-sheet in the final free practice before the Australian Grand Prix qualifying on Saturday.

The four-times champion Germans lap of one minute 23.380 seconds eclipsed his pole record of 1:23.529 set at the lakeside circuit in 2011, and was nearly half a second faster than both the Mercedes cars.

New Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, who replaced retired champion Nico Rosberg, was second fastest, just edging three-times champion teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Ferraris Kimi Raikkonen was fourth, with Nico Hulkenberg fifth in his Renault.

Red Bulls Daniel Ricciardo was sixth fastest, with his teammate Max Verstappen 12th.

Williams rookie driver Lance Stroll skidded into a barrier and blew a tyre, causing the red flag to be raised with 10 minutes left in the session.

The session was then called off, leaving constructors champions Mercedes unable to improve upon their times and adding spice to the qualifying session later on Saturday.

Hamilton was fastest in both practice sessions on Friday.

Ireland and Everton defender Seamus Coleman faces up to a year on the sidelines after breaking his leg during a World Cup qualifier against Wales.

The ever-present risk of serious leg injuries in football was unfortunately realised once again as Wales’ Neil Taylor was shown a red card for a poor tackle during the 0-0 draw.

Once he realised what had happened, Coleman held onto his damaged leg while waiting for help.

Coleman was given oxygen on the field as medical staff attempted to immobilise his leg before taking to and ambulance and then hospital.

The final score took a back seat to Coleman’s well-being  after the match.

“It’s a bad break. Seamus is a fantastic player and character - it’s a major blow for the lad, for his club and for us,’’ Ireland manager Martin O’Neill told the UK’s Sky Sports.

“Apparently it wasn’t the best challenge in the world - I haven’t seen it back - but naturally disappointed. He’s gone to hospital and I think it’s broken.

“I saw Seamus’ reaction - he was holding his leg up and it didn’t look good.”

The length of Taylor’s suspension is yet to the decided but one this is for sure – Coleman is facing a lengthy stint of rehab before his professional career resumes.

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France’s national railway company, SNCF, and professional and financial services group Deloitte have signed up as official supporters of France’s bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023.

SNCF will advise the French Rugby Federation (FFR) on transport and sustainable mobility options, and support the implementation of a ticketing strategy for the World Cup.

The company will also provide logistical support to the FFR during different stages of the application process while promoting the bid both nationally and internationally.

Deloitte’s French division will work with the FFR on drafting budgets and financing plans for the event.

FFR president Bernard Laporte said: “(We are) very pleased to be able to count on the expertise of these two companies with world-renowned know-how to help us in our application. This support again illustrates the strong mobilisation of the economic world behind #France2023.”

France faces competition from Ireland and South Africa in its bid to stage the 2023 World Cup. The World Rugby Council will select the winning bid on November 15.