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Get to know the 2 Kericho heroes Ruto honoured for Mashujaa Day

President Ruto hounours Kenya's first Olympic medalist and a Class 3 dropout who rose to become a prominent businessman and politician as Kericho heroes.

Olympian Wilson Kiprugut Chumo and businessman Samwel Kipsoi Ng'etich from Kericho honoured by President William Ruto

Two Kericho-born personalities have cemented their names in history as heroes of the region following recognition by President William Ruto during the 2023 Mashujaa Day celebrations.

Olympian Wilson Kiprugut Chumo and politician Samwel Kipsoi Ng'etich 'Chepsetyon', both deceased, received special mention during President Ruto's speech at the Kericho Green Stadium, which has since been renamed.

President Ruto underscored their contributions to the region's history lauding them as deserving of hero status.

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During the celebration, President Ruto officially renamed the Kericho Green Stadium as Kiprugut Chumo Stadium in honour of the man who won Kenya's first-ever Olympic medal, a bronze at the 1964 games in Tokyo.

Nabiba Naftali Temu would win Kenya's first Olympic Gold Medal at the 1968 Mexico City games in the 10,000-m men's race. Kipchoge Keino and Amos Biwott also won gold medals at that year's competition in the 1500-m and 3000-m races respectively.

Kiprugut passed away in November 2022 at the age of 84, having also been inducted into the Kenya Sports Hall of Fame.

Speaking of his early childhood, Kiprugut was quoted by Old Africa magazine saying: "Schools were few and far between in those days. So if you wanted an education, you had to cover the distance by running. Walking 15 km was not an option. The other option was to stay at home and herd cows."

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Kiprugut last competed at the Olympic in 1968 where he won a Silver Medal in the 800-m race. He went back to serve in the Kenya Army until 1975 when he retired to become a field administrator in Unilever's Kericho tea plantations until 1997.

He resided in Kericho until the end of his life and decried minimal recognition for his contributions to Kenya's history.

President Ruto hailed Kipsoi Ng'etich for the efforts he made toward the end of his life to set up West Valley Sugar Company, confirming that the miller began operations in 2023 just months after his demise.

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"We celebrate Mzee Samwel Kipsoi Ngetich Chepsetyon, an incredible entrepreneur who exemplifies the Bottom-Up story. As Class 3 dropout, he pulled himself up through sheer determination, to set up the Kipchimchim Group of Companies, whose interests span various industries and employs thousands of Kenyans.

"He was a great inspiration to many young Kenyans and many citizens of our country. Demonstrating that it is possible to rise from humble beginnings and make a mark in the Republic of Kenya," Ruto stated.

The Kipchimchim Group of Companies proprietor passed away in August 2022 after a short illness.

Chepsetyon built a business empire despite his limited formal education by establishing tea plantations and factories as well as varied investments in mining and retail businesses.

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His sons Alfred Soi & Stanley Soi are Directors of the holding company while his son Benard Soi serves as the Managing Director of the business empire.

Mr Ng'etich also had a respectable career in politics having served as deputy mayor in the Kericho municipality, as a councillor and later as Kapkugerwet MCA - a ward in Belgut constituency - between 2013 and 2017.

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