The sports sector in Kisii and Nyamira counties has come a long way since the days of Nyantika Maiyoro. We now have a new crop of record-breaking marathoners at the prime of their careers. On the list are celebrated Kisii athletes of all time.
Running is a well-paying career for those with speeds and stamina. Among those raising the Kenyan flag higher are Gusii Olympians. These are registering impressive results alongside counterparts from Rift Valley.
Top 10 Kisii athletes and marathoners
Gusii athletes are commendable for pioneering and shaping Kenyan Olympics into what we have today.
These veteran Kisii marathoners are not your ordinary runners but career champions in international races.
1. Nyandika Maiyoro, a Kenyan pioneer athlete
Nyantika Mayioro real name Nyandika Maiyoro is memorable for winning the 1953 Indian Ocean Games in Madagascar.
The history-making race is mainly why Nyandika Maiyoro is a respected marathoner to this day.
He finished first in the 5,000 meters race albeit starting late because of language barrier.
Nyandika who entered the race when competitors had already covered 100 meters abandoned his running shoes in the chase run.
Luckily, the barefoot Nyandika claimed victory after overtaking everyone including the immediate competitor by 78 meters.
In addition, Nyandika wrote history in 1954 for becoming the first Kenyan to compete in the Common Wealth Games held in Vancouver Canada. Sadly, he died in 2019 aged 88 years.
2. Yobes Ondieki, 10,000 meters champion
Kenyan athlete Yobes Ondieki born in 1961 became a world-class marathoner in 1988.
Living and schooling at Iowa State University in the United States of America exposed Yobes to the art of winning marathons.
The electric Yobes Ondieki surprised the world in 1993 after a record 10,000 meter win.
He would eventually become an athletics coach following a series of misunderstandings with Kenyan sports authorities.
3. Hellen Onsando Obiri, 5000m World Champion
The athletic Hellen Obiri is a noticeable middle-distance runner from Kisii County in Kenya.
The female runner is a 5000m World Champion for her unfailing performance. She first gained victory in 2017 at London, United Kingdom and later defended it in 2019 at Doha in Qatar.
Hellen Obiri in the Kenyan Defence Forces is married to Tom Nyaundi and is the mother of a beautiful daughter called Tania.
List of all Kisii athletes, marathoners, and Olympians
Apart from Nyandika Maiyoro, Yobes Ondieki, and Hellen Obiri is a full squad of runners.
Those ahead of the rest are;
- Mary Moraa
- Isabella Ochichi
- Grace Momanyi
- Edwin Mokua
- Robert Saoyo
- Sammy Nyokeo
- Geoffrey Bundi
The list of runners is indeed a pride of Omogusii.
Why Kisii athletics titles are not shining enough
Gusii marathoners paved the way into worldwide championships but have since been overtaken by competitors from the Rift Valley.
Excellent training camp facilities, management programs, and talent recognition initiatives are why the Rift Valley is taking over.
That said, marathoners Eliud Kipchoge, Ezekiel Kemboi, Agnes Tirop, Kipchoge Keino, and Brigit Kosgei can only do better.
On the contrary, Gusii Olympians are still decrying a lack of support and goodwill from local authorities.
Above all, Kisii athletes stand out from other Kenyan Olympians for their resilience and unbroken records in World Championships. Even so, the region has several untapped talents crying for a helping hand.