Former Commonwealth Games 110m hurdles champion Fatwel Kimaiyo is a legend in Kenyan running history after representing the country for long.
The man who made his first outing winning gold in 110m hurdles at the East and Central Africa in Zambia said he remained relevant in the game because he ran naturally unlike the current generation that dopes.
Kimaiyo represented the country at the Munich Olympic Games in 1972, competing in 400m hurdles but failed to qualify but avenged the following year with a win at the Africa Championships, winning gold in 110m hurdles.
His star shone most when he won the 1974 Commonwealth Games in 110m hurdles with his record still intact and finished fourth in 400m hurdles.
“At All Africa Games in 1968, I won the 110m hurdles and at the Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, I picked an injury and finished fourth yet I was the defending champion. I developed an injury that took a long time to heal,” said Kimaiyo lamenting that he was fit to win gold at the 1976 Olympic Games but Africa boycotted the race.
His running career was inspired by Kimaru Songok who was the 400m hurdles and 110m hurdles national champion. They were training together at the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) School.
He ran alongside Kimaru, the late Julius Sang from Prison, Ben Kandie, Kipchoge Keino, Amos Biwott, Mike Boit, Cherono Maiyo and Tecla Chemabwai Sang.
“Now we lack sprints because Americans have taken over because we lack training facilities. If athletics Kenya can be serious in training them, we can be so well. We have good sprinters and AK and the ministry of sports should establish camps in low areas, we can get good sprinters. For me, I used to train alone seriously. Even while at home, I used to be serious in my training, that is why I shone in the hurdles,” said Kimaiyo in his home.
He advised young sprinters that they should train and avoid doping. He says he’s too strong because he ran clean.
“To motivate more sprinters, we should have more training facilities to build more tracks. If you go to Europe, tracks are all over and there are no murram tracks. I want to urge county governments and the national government to build more training facilities and Kenya will shine in sprints,” he said.
The 74 year-old is married to Katherine Serem with five children, Ibrahim Kiptanui Maiyo, Late Stephen Kimutai Maiyo, Paul Kipkirui Kosgei, Naomie Jepkogei and Laban Kiptoo Maiyo. He currently works as a farmer and a Coach.