Once a famous athlete, Stanley Kagora Ongiri now struggles and lives a life of regret after selling his land and medals.
Kagora, whose athletic career spanned four years, rose from rags to riches, then plunged back into a miserable life.
After receiving awards, medals and money for participating in several international races, the lack of a sound investment plan forced Kagora to auction off all the awards that made up his athletic legacy.
Coupled with other family demands, Kagora was forced to lose his wealth to meet his family’s needs to fund the education of his children.
Stanely Kagora Ongiri trains at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, ahead of the 2003 African Games.
“I also sold the medals to some Angolans and used the money to raise my children. At one point things were so difficult and I had no option,” he said. Nation Africa.
Kagora, who now repairs motorcycles in the heart of Kisii town, made headlines in 2000 after winning a cross-country race in Nyanza. He dominated from start to finish and broke the record. His impressive performances also earned him a spot in national athletics.
As the top rated athlete back then, most European race organizers flooded his house with the promise of changing his life. Just after a week of making headlines, Kagora was invited to race in the Netherlands.
In the Dutch country, Kagora took part in three races and came in second overall, receiving a medal and Ksh300,000.
“I didn’t believe it and didn’t even know what it took to leave the country. However, the organizers helped me and I got a passport,” he recalls.
In 2003, Kagora was selected to represent the country in the marathon race at the All African Games. However, he failed to complete the race in which South Africa’s Johannes Kekana won.
After that disappointing performance, he was replaced in the Half Marathon race. After a series of mixed appearances, he was eventually dropped from the national team.
But that didn’t dim his light when he was invited to the Standard Chartered Marathon in Hong Kong. The winner of the 2002 Kisumu Marathon finished in 10th place, earning the money he used to buy land in the town of Kisii.
Before becoming famous, the once famous athlete had also struggled with alcoholism. He remembered that he always fled his duties and that his life almost collapsed. However, he changed his life to focus on competitive politics.
Stanley Kagora Ongiri in his mechanic workshop in the city of Kisii.
“The day I realized that my life was almost going up against the wall and only me would collapse was when I had disagreements with my wife and it got physical. At that time, I was repairing tires in the town of Kisii,” he said.
“I lost most of my friends and some people even thought I was pretending and eventually I would party with them in our drinking places, but this would never happen again,” he explained.
Kagora learns from his past mistakes and is now willing to give another try at competitive sports. Like other athletes who have sunk into poverty, he also looks forward to sharing the importance of investing with budding athletes.
The experienced athlete also insists on introducing good management systems to empower novice athletes.