On Sunday, Gusii region bid farewell to legendary Olympian Nyantika Maiyoro, the man who shaped Kenya's athletics at the professional level in 1950s.

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Few days before his death at Christa Marriane Hospital in Kisii, Mr Nyantika, who at one time served as District Sports officer in Nyamira, pleaded to the government and well-wishers to help him clear hospital bills.

And there was support from his Borabu neighbour Fred Matiang'i, who offered to clear the bills. It however remains unclear whether he cleared before or after his death on Sunday.

But Nyantika, running barefoot in 1963 at Indian Ocean games, managed to scoop a gold medal despite starting the race roughly 7 minutes later.

"I remember I was in the warm-up area and they called competitors for the 5,000 metres. I paid no attention as I knew I was competing in the three-mile race.

"I remember coach Evans rushing up to me and asking 'Nyandika, are you not competing? They already fired the starter's gun!' I told him I didn't know I was competing in the 5,000 metres+. What I knew is my race is the three miles," he recalled.

Bouyed by the fans response and yeh encouragement from Kenyan officials, Nyantika managed to overtake all 30 participants and became the first athlete to win a gold medal outside Kenya in an international event.

"I remember fans and officials laughing at me, thinking I was crazy. But they allowed me to start, and after six laps, I caught up with two athletes … after the seventh, I caught up with seven more … I could hear some 'wazungu' now saying 'Nyandika will catch up with all of them!"

And in the next couple of days, whether at Nyamira or in his native Kisii, Maiyoro will be buried with hundreds of dignitaries expected.

Notably, President Jomo Kenyatta, Uhuru's father, awarded him a piece of land in Borabu following his success on the track during those days.