Category Archives: Amos Biwott

From Grace to Grass: The Tragic Tale of Kenya’s First Olympic 3000m Steeplechase Champion

On 26th April 2024, Amos Biwott, the first Kenyan runner to win a 3000m steeplechase Olympic Games title, was celebrated. His gold medal at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico marked a significant milestone in Kenya’s athletic history. Biwott’s innovative technique of clearing hurdles set the stage for Kenya’s reputation as a producer of talented middle- and long-distance runners. Kenya has been a powerhouse in the world of running for decades, with athletes breaking world records, achieving Olympic Games and World Athletics Championships titles, and etching their names in history books.

Among these legends is Amos Kiptabok Biwott, whose impact on the 3000m steeplechase discipline is a defining feature of Kenya’s dominance in long-distance running. Despite his substantial contribution to Kenya’s sporting industry, Biwott’s personal journey is less known. This feature by Sportpesa News aims to unravel Biwott’s rise to success, his subsequent downfall, and his enduring legacy as one of Kenya’s best steeplechase runners. Born in 1947 in Nandi County, Biwott gained fame at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico when he clinched Kenya’s first Olympic Games 3000m steeplechase title.

His victory, achieved in spectacular fashion with a time of 8:51.02, solidified his place in history. Biwott’s unique technique, later adopted by other runners, gave him a competitive edge and contributed to his remarkable performance at the Olympic Games. However, Biwott’s career took a downturn following his triumph in Mexico. He secured a third position in the 1970 Commonwealth Games and a sixth-place finish at the 1972 Olympic Games, marking a shift from his earlier success.

His final appearance for Kenya was at the 1974 Commonwealth Games, where he finished in eighth place. After retiring from professional running, Biwott faced personal challenges. He was arrested and prosecuted for theft, an unfortunate turn of events that led to his fall from grace. With his name cleared, he resorted to working as a watchman at a stadium to make ends meet.

In a recent interview, Biwott revealed his close relationship with former Kenyan President Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi, who appreciated Biwott’s contributions to Kenya’s athletics industry. Despite his hardships, Biwott continues to reside in Mlango, a lesser-known village in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County. His enduring legacy as a pioneer in athletics and his significant impact on Kenyan running history remain an important part of his story.