Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Road to Olympics : 1964 Tokyo Games - Kenya's Coming of Age...

A year after becoming an independent state and also the same year it would be declared a Republic ( free from the British monarchy as it were), the country's fortunes in sport seemed to be coming of age.

But before we get to Kenya's involvement, let's look at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Japan landed Asia's first Olympic Games. Around this time too the Cold War would get to some of its lowest points and this would affect the way the Games were held and both politicians and sports people would use the Games as perfect platforms to push their agendas.
Wilson Kiprugut (left) -

  • 5137 Athletes took part ; a drop due to a ban of countries such as South Africa, Indonesia and North Korea;
  • 21 sports and 163 events took place;
  • Kenya took part in 5 events - Athletics, Boxing, Hockey, Sailing and Shooting;
  • 1 Medal - Bronze by Wilson Kiprugut - Men's 800m - Kenya's only medal at the Games, future medallists though in Kipchoge Keino, Naftali Temu and Philip Waruinge had their fair share of exposure in Japan;
  • Kenya's men's field hockey team was placed 6th among the world's 
 Interesting Facts:
  • Abebe Bikila from Ethiopia won his 2nd Olympic gold medal in the marathon being the first and so far only man to achieve the feat.
  • Joe Frazier - a future profession heavyweight champion would win gold at Tokyo following in the steps of another boxing great Muhammad Ali (formerly Cassius Clay).
  • Women's Heptathlon is among the new events of the Games. 
  • Computers were used for the first time for keeping results. 
  • Improved time-keeping and scoring technologies were used cementing Japan's reconstruction and future tech-power.
  • For athletics it was also the last time the Games were run on cinder track and also fibre-glass for pole vaulters. 
These Games would begin Kenya's rich legacy in athletics for all the games it would participate it. 
Sources: Wikipedia

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