In Summary
  • On the night the 2008 Olympic marathon champion Samuel Wanjiru died of May 15, 2011, Bungei was admitted in hospital having had too much alcohol for his body to handle.
  • “I might have gone back home but someone knocked my door to break Wanjiru’s bad news.

The 2008 Beijing Olympics 800m champion Wilfred Bungei moved participants at the Athletes Kenya Athletes' Conference when he revealed how alcoholism almost ruined his life after retiring from the sport eight years ago.

However, Bungei, who officially retired in 2010, said he managed to go through rehabilitation under Alcoholic Anonymous group and has not taken alcohol for almost six years.

Bungei, 38, was speaking about pre and post challenges in athletes’ life during the opening day of the three-day conference at Safari Park Hotel on Thursday.

New York City Marathon champion and all-women world marathon record holder Mary Keitany also talked on the same topic.

Bungei confessed how he felt a big vacuum had entered his life upon retiring in 2010 since he nothing else. “I lived 365 days annually as an athlete on track with no social life.

“It took a toll on me, retiring and having nothing to do hence resorted to drinking," said Bungei.

“I started with a tot or two and ended up downing five litres of wine and would top up with a litre of vodka the following day.”

On the night the 2008 Olympic marathon champion Samuel Wanjiru died of May 15, 2011, Bungei was admitted in hospital having had too much alcohol for his body to handle.

“I might have gone back home but someone knocked my door to break Wanjiru’s bad news.

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