Kenya's former Commonwealth Games champion dies

09:37, December 02, 2009      

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Kenya's Patrick Konchellah, the 1994 Commonwealth Games champion, has died in Rift Valley where he was recouping. He was 41.

Konchellah will be most remembered for his achievement on the track especially in 1994 when he clinched the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Born on April 20, 1968, in Kilgoris to a comparatively "progressive" Konchellahs' family -- his uncle was a prominent Member of Parliament -- Patrick passed away Sunday morning after over two months struggle with cancer of stomach.

Together with his elder brother Billy Konchellah, a two-time world champion in 800m, they epitomized Maasai domination in the two-lap race, both in the country and internationally where through them, Kenya has won several accolades.

Henry Longfellow, a U.S. poet once said, when a great man dies, for years the light he leaves behind him, shines on the paths of men.

Patrick light will certainly shine in the path of World Junior 800m finalist in Bydgoszcz, Felix Konchellah, who is one of the six children and a widow that Patrick leaves behind from his two marriages.

"It is a blow to us. We were not expecting him to die suddenly because he had shown improvements in his struggle with the disease. But that is it, he is gone and all we are left with are fond memories of his action. He was a very generous man," said Billy.

Athletics Kenya Chairman Isaiah Kiplagat expressed his shock on the death of Patrick and extended his condolences to the family and friends during this hard time.

"It is with great shock that we learnt of his death. He was a great athlete of course coming from a family with strong roots in athletics. He had a bright future in the sport and could have been a great coach or talent searcher in the Maasai had he lived longer," said Kiplagat.

Patrick's life will however, not lack controversies. He was primed to succeed his brother Billy as the new world champion but problems with beer caused him an early retirement after he won Kenyan trials for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, but ailed and missed the Olympics. He never recovered to gain his form.

"He had his weakness, but over and all, he will be remembered for his philanthropic aspect. He wanted all to succeed and would go an extra mile to encourage others to train as hard as he did so they would succeed in top races," said Billy.

A third born in a family of ten -- brother Billy is the eldest with a sister Jane in between -- Patrick only had one chance to compete against his elder brother in a top athletics meeting in Hengelo in 2000 before he hung up his spikes.

Source: Xinhua
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