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Rise And Fall: From Winning Gold To Working As A Watchman, The Heartbreaking Story Of Amos Biwott 

Kenya is globally acclaimed for producing some of the best middle and long distance athletes who have brought fame and pride to the country. Amos Biwott is one such athlete who helped show others that they could succeed in the 3000 steeplechase after representing Kenya in the 1968 summer Olympics. 

Here is his heartbreaking story as told by WoK,

Background 

Born in 1947 in Nandi county, he joined Ndonyongaria Primary School where he would run home for lunch. He went on to join Mutwot Primary School where he continued to nurture his running skills. For his O-levels, the gold medalist joined Lelmokwo High School and it was while here that he took part in the Olympics. 

International Races 

Amos had only participated in three steeplechase races prior to the Olympics. Initially, he wanted to represent the country in either the 5,000 meters or 10,000m race.

However, the positions were filled and as a last resort he put his name on the steeplechase race.

During the race, Amos Biwott impressed many with his unique technique which involved placing one foot on the barrier and springing off.

This reduced his clearance time by half as he cleared the obstacles in one leap and was the only athlete to finish the race with dry feet. He won gold after clocking an impressive 8:51:02.

The win earned him a visit to Gatundu where the late president Jomo Kenyatta congratulated him and awarded him a scholarship to Njoro High School where he studied from Form 2 to Form 4.

This would, however, be his only win as he came third during the 1970 Commonwealth games and sixth at the 1972 Summer Olympics held in Germany.

His last race was at the 1974 British Commonwealth games where he finished eight. The athlete then served with Kenya Prisons Service until 1978 when he was arrested and prosecuted for theft. 

Fall from Grace

Following this incident, he ended up jobless for about eight years before securing work as a guard at the then newly constructed Moi International Sports Center in Kasarani.

While this was a fall from grace, in an interview with a local daily, he said that he enjoyed a good relationship with the late retired president Daniel Arap Moi who would invite him to Statehouse whenever he met delegations. 

In 2018, he was one of the legends who graced the IAAF World Under-18 Championships in Nairobi.

Family 

He married fellow athlete Cherono Maiyo in 1973. Cherono was one of the pioneer Kenyan female Olympians who competed in the 1972 Munich Games where she reached the finals of both the 800m and 1500m.

The two met in Munich where Amos proposed, they got married and were blessed with six children. 

During a 2020 interview with Daily Nation, it was revealed that at the time the couple, who were living in Mlango, were struggling to put food on the table.