Naftali Temu

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Naftali Temu
Naftali Temu 1968.jpg
Personal information
Birth name Naftali Temu
Nationality Kenyan
Born (1945-04-20)20 April 1945
Nyamira, Kenya
Died 10 March 2003(2003-03-10) (aged 57)
Nairobi, Kenya
Sport Athletics
Event(s) 5000 m, 10,000 m
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 5000 m: 13:36.6
10,000 m: 28:21.80[1]

Naftali Temu (20 April 1945 – 10 March 2003) was a Kenyan long-distance runner. He became Kenya's first gold medalist when he won the 10,000 metres race at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.


Temu started systematic training in long-distance running at the age of 14. After completing school education, he served at the Kenyan Army.[2] At the 1964 Olympics he was 49th in the marathon[3] and failed to finish his 10,000 m race.[4]

He won the silver medal in 5,000 m at the inaugural All-Africa Games in 1965, behind compatriot Kipchoge Keino. At the 1966 Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica, he beat the world record holder Ron Clarke to win the six mile race. Two days later, Temu finished fourth in the three miles.[4]

At the Mexico Olympics, in the 10,000 m final, only Mamo Wolde from Ethiopia could to keep Temu's pace. Wolde went to lead at the bell, but Temu passed him with only 50 m remaining to win the gold. Four days later, he won a bronze medal in the 5,000 m, narrowly beaten by Mohammed Gammoudi from Tunisia and fellow countryman Kipchoge Keino. Temu also competed against Wolde in the marathon, but Wolde broke away after the 30 km mark, while Temu finished 19th.[4]

Temu's career went downward after 1968. He finished nineteenth in the 10,000 m at the 1970 British Commonwealth Games, and was eliminated in the 10,000 m heats at the 1972 Summer Olympics. He retired in 1973 to run a farm in North Mugirango, which was a gift from president Jomo Kenyatta. On 10 March 2003, he died of prostate cancer at the Kenyatta National Hospital, aged 57.[2]


  1. ^ All-Athletics. "Profile of Naftali Temu". 
  2. ^ a b Daily Nation, March 11, 2003: Kenya's track hero Temu dies aged 58
  3. ^ Men Marathon Olympic Games 1964 Tokyo (JPN) – Wednesday 21.10.
  4. ^ a b c Naftali Temu.