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Legend: The only English word I knew was chicken, it became menu

Edson Meroka
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He could not utter any English word. [Photo/Mounde]

A paid trip to Finland in 1960s could expose badly legendary athlete Nyantika Maiyoro, who died on Sunday, due to his language barrier those days.

Honoured for his victories on the track both at Commonwealth and Olympic games, Mr Maiyoro was asked to camp at Helsinki for two weeks where he would train and compete.

Although he travelled, Mr Maiyoro, the pioneer Olympian, could not speak English language and the only word he could utter was 'chicken'.

During meals, he observed in an interview with Nation, he could not read menu and this made him to repeatedly order for chicken throughout all meals, raising eyebrows among his hosts.

"Archie Evans was told to travel with me on condition that he footed his own bill, but he couldn't, so I travelled alone."

Back at the hotel in Helsinki, Maiyoro was present with a precarious situation: he could hardly read and when given the menu at the dining area, he didn't know what to do.

"The only think I knew was 'chicken' so I ordered for chicken."

"They would then take me to the kitchen and show me the foods that they were preparing and ask me to pick what I would like prepared for me."

On Sunday, the legendary athlete took the last breath at Christa Marriane Hospital in Kisii at 88 and is set to be buried next week. He had homes both in Kisii and Nyamira.

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