Naftali Temu (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Nairobi, Kenya

Kenya's first Olympic gold medallist Temu dies

Kenya’s Naftali Temu died today aged 58 after a long illness.

Temu became the country's first Olympic gold medallist in the 1968 Mexico City games when he led an African sweep in the men's 10,000m, defeating Ethiopia’s Mamo Wolde, - who would later in those Games win the Marathon - in a close sprint finish. Their times in the altitude of Mexico City were 29:27.4 and 29:28.0, and a distant sixth in the oxygen starved air was the World record holder Ron Clarke of Australia.
Wolde took the initiative at the bell and held on to the lead until the last 50m, at which point Temu fought his way past to win Kenya’s first ever gold medal, after a last lap of 57.4.

Temu was admitted to the state-run Kenyatta National Hospital in January 2003 suffering from prostate cancer and had been unable to pay a 50,000 shilling (660 dollars) medical bill which the government waived.

"It is a great loss to this country and the athletics fraternity," said Athletics Kenya secretary David Okeyo.