June 24, 2024
KENYA ATHLETICS: AK Presidents List since 1951

KENYA ATHLETICS: AK Presidents List since 1951

Before Kenya gained independence, athletics in the country had already begun to flourish, and in this article, AfricasNow examines the Athletics Kenya presidents since 1951. 

From 1951 to 2002, Kenya’s track and field was governed by the Kenya Amateur Athletics Association. 

The organization changed its name to Athletics Kenya (AK) in 2002, and it is now the governing body of track and field.

Archie Evans is credited with pioneering organized athletics and founding the Kenya Amateur Athletics Association (KAAA) in 1951. 

The association was established as a requirement for any country that wanted to send athletes to international competitions, particularly the British Empire and Commonwealth Games.

Following the formation of KAAA, Kenya was represented for the first time in 1954 at the 5th British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, as well as subsequent championships.

The following is a list of Athletics Kenya presidents since the organization’s inception in 1951.

1. Sir Derek Quicke Erskine – 1951 to 1964

Sir Derek Quicke Erskine was a British settler in Kenya who helped popularize athletics in the country and co-founded the Kenya Amateur Athletics Association, which is now known as Athletics Kenya.

He served as the first president of Kenya’s athletics governing body.

Erskine was invited to Kenya by a businessman with connections to Lord Delamere, and he quickly established a successful grocery business.

He co-founded the Kenya Amateur Athletics Association (KAAA) with Archie Evans in 1951, which is now known as Athletics Kenya.

He made significant contributions to the association, including donating the land on which the Nyayo National Stadium is now built.

He chaired the association from its inception until a year after independence. Unfortunately, Erskine passed away on September 6, 1977.

2. Musembi Mbathi – 1964 to 1968

Musembi Mbathi succeeded the late Erskine in 1964, becoming the first Kenyan to hold the prestigious position. His term ended in 1968, and Bartonjo Rotich took over.

The late Mbathi was a member of Kenya’s inaugural international team.

Earlier in 1954, a nine-man team traveled to Vancouver, Canada, to participate in the Commonwealth Games, then known as the British Empire Games.

The team consisted of Korigo Barno, Nyandika Maiyoro, Maboria Tesot, Kiprono Maritim, Mbathi, Kiptalam Keter, Jonathan Lenemeria, Lazaro Chepkwony, and Team Captain Paul Kipkorir Boit.

They were led by the legendary Archie Evans, who had been the ‘Colony Sports Officer’ since 1947.

The Kenyans never won a medal, but the majority of them set regional and national records.

3. Bartonjo Rotich – 1968 to 1972

Rotich was an athlete before becoming president of KAAA. He specialised in the 400m and 400m hurdles.

Rotich competed in the 1956 Summer Olympics, but did not advance beyond the 400m and 4x400m relay heats.

At the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, he finished third in the 440-yard hurdles event.

As a result, he became the first Kenyan athlete to win a medal at an intercontinental championship.

He competed in the 1960 Summer Olympics, reaching the 400-meter hurdles semi-finals and the 400-meter quarter-finals.

He was then elected chairman of the KAAA from 1968 to 1972. Rotich died on October 7, 2019.

4. Charles Mukora – 1972 to 1974

The late Charles Mukora, born on October 18, 1934, is one of Athletics Kenya’s presidents who made significant contributions to the sport.

Mukora began competing in the long jump and triple jump before transitioning to the decathlon, which his British teacher John Cowley encouraged him to pursue.

Furthermore, Mukora was largely responsible for the success of Olympic trailblazer Kipchoge Keino in the 1960s and 1970s, before entering the sports management spotlight himself in the late 1970s.

His rise to prominence in Kenyan sport began in 1968, when he took over as national athletics coach from Briton John Velzian, who had led the country to its first African Championships in Congo Brazzaville in 1965.

In 1976, Mukora was elected to the World Athletic Council.

This came after he took over as chairman of the Kenya Amateur Athletics Association (1972-1974) and, later, the Kenya National Sports Council.

Mukora died on December 27 due to a long illness.

5. Sam Ongeri – 1974 to 1984

Sam Ongeri was born on February 23, 1938, and is a former Senator from Kisii County.

Ongeri was elected chairman of Athletics Kenya in 1974 and ruled for ten years. 

Ongeri has no history of sports participation. He attended Gesusu Primary and Intermediate from 1943 to 1951, then Bugema Missionary College from 1952 to 1957. 

He then attended a Pre-Medical Course at the University of Delhi from 1959 to 1961 before pursuing a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at the University of Bombay from 1961 to 1966.

Ongeri then studied child health at the University of London from 1971 to 1972, before taking his Pre-Board Examination at the University of Edinburgh from 1970 to 1972. 

He became a physician after graduating from the Royal College of Physicians in 1971-72.

Between 1973 and 1976, he attended a WHO Immunology Course at the University of Nairobi.

6. Paul Kiplimo Boit – 1984 to 1992

Paul Kiplimo Boit was born in 1906 in Kipkutu village, Nandi County, and was a prominent KANU politician during the Moi regime.

Boit succeeded Sam Ongeri as president of the Kenya Amateur Athletics Association in 1984, serving for eight years before being succeeded by Isaiah Kiplagat.

7. Isaiah Kiplagat – 1992 to 2015

Isaiah Kiplagat was Athletics Kenya’s longest-serving president, holding the position for 24 years.

He joined the athletics association in 1975 as vice chairman, serving under then-chairman Mukora.

He took over in 1992, succeeding Paul Boit.

During his tenure, Kiplagat played an important role in ensuring the association’s stability and financial growth.

Within the first year of leadership, AK managed to accumulate a Ksh 5 million surplus through savings and sponsorships, and the association gradually began to take shape. 

He also implemented effective youth programs with the assistance of his team, led by the current president, Jackson Tuwei.

Athletics Kenya has been able to nurture young and upcoming athletes through its youth programs over the years, resulting in improved performance in both the junior and senior categories.

8. Jackson Tuwei – 2015 to Present

Jackson Tuwei, the current AK president, rose from a military officer in Lanet to become one of the world’s most respected athletes. 

Tuwei is writing one chapter after another in athletic management, from leading a Kenya Army squad that was part of elite squads that subdued a rebel group from the Kenya Air Force during an attempted coup in 1982 to winning elections on the African and global stages. 

Tuwei is not only the president of the AK, but also the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) Senior Vice President and the World Athletics Vice President.

Tuwei had a decorated military career before rising to the top of the athletic ranks.

He fought several battles and claimed to have won them all, including the elections.

KENYA ATHLETICS: AK Presidents List since 1951

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