Duncan ‘Jamaica’ Kibet: Ex-Millionaire Marathon Champion Now Unable To Make Even Ksh100

Photos: The Star & Nation.Africa
By Prudence Minayo

The country has been awash with stories of athletes who made it big in the international scenes only to end up poor. This was the case with Duncan Kibet, who after participating in a number of successful races ended up in dire circumstance in what he revealed was due to poor health and being scammed.

Here is the story as told by WoK:

Athletic career

Born in 1978, Duncan dropped out of school due to financial difficulties. His elder brother encouraged him to participate in races, which he did for a while, gaining relative success.

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He had been involved in a car accident at 16 and was afraid of training too much for fear of breaking his leg. When his younger brother won a scholarship to the US, he organized for his brother to participate in a number of races in the states. He won in a number of them and was significantly successful in others.

Photos: The Star & Nation.Africa

In 2008, he made his debut in a full marathon and came in second at the Vienna marathon. The same year, he broke the track record and emerged the winner at the Milan Marathon.

Fellow runners nicknamed him rasta and Jamaican and he often spotted a beard and jewelry while participating in marathons. His most famous win was when he won the 2009 Rotterdam marathon. This made him the second fastest marathoner ever, finishing at 2:04:27.

After this win, he started training for the following year’s Berlin marathon. He had a slight pain before the marathon which he chose to ignore. 30 kilometers into the race, the pain became unbearable forcing him to drop out.

Downward Spiral

He came home and started seeking treatment. The treatment was slow and he was determined to get better and return to the global stage. In 2012, he entered into a property agreement where he received money to seek treatment in Germany.

The person involved in the process delayed to give him back the title deed and by the time he got it in 2015, he found out his house had been used for collateral for a loan.

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The former Rotterdam champion said that he had no idea about the loan and was eventually evicted from the house. The athlete was forced to move back into his parents’ house. He also told a local media station that he was still pursuing justice and asked both the government and other athletes to stand by him.

He said that should he get justice, he still believed in his ability to participate in race and is determined to get back.

The athlete said that he had fallen into depression and thrice thought of committing suicide to ease the emotional turmoil.

“If I happen to get a hundred shillings now, I will really appreciate it. I don’t know when I’ll get another one. The good thing is that I have accepted that I am down and I don’t drink. If I was a drunkard, I would be really wasted,” he told a local media house in 2022.

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