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  OBITUARY  

September 16 - 22, 2011

 

 Coastweek   Kenya


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Coastweek -- Seraphino was athletic cheetah.

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Seraphino Antao Was
Our First Athlete ...

He was our first hero to put Kenya on the
world mark for his achievements in athletics

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Coastweek -- This is in remembrance of a great Kenyan the first Kenyan to win two gold medals at the Melbourne Olympics in the 100 yards and 220 yards which established Kenya 's name in world of athletics.

Seraphino Antao was a Mombasa born Goan and used to do his training on the Goan Institute and Bohra sports club grounds I still remember we used to call him Serphin bin Antao.

Ali Husein Namajee, Mombasa .

a_namajee@yahoo.com

The Coast Hockey Association joins the entire Coast Hockey fraternity in Kenya to morn the sad demise of Seraphino Antao.

He was our first hero to put Kenya on the world mark for his achievements in athletics.

A legend and a hero passes away but leaves a mark for ages to come. May God bless his soul.

M.S.Sohal, Mombasa .

makupajoinery@wananchi.com  

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From Coastweek issue 3440: October 07 - 13, 2011
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Legend Of Hero Runner Antao

Minister for Tourism urges the government
to accord gold medalist a 'legend status'

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Coastweek-- Kenya should accord the country’s first gold medalist a 'legend status', the Minister for Tourism has said.

In his speech delivered during the Memorial service of the Late Seraphino Antao at Mombasa Institute, Minister Najib Balala said the contribution that he made for this country deserved to be recognised.

Antao won gold in the short sprints during the era of post independence and such achievement requires recognition. Balala said when he competed at the Commonwealth games in Perth , Australia at the height of his career the athlete brought a sense of pride.

“The athlete in life put this country on the World map and it would be right for the nation to honour him,” he said.

Coastweek-- Seraphino Antao.

Balala noted that as a Minister for Tourism, he will forward the name of the late runner through the Minister of Sports to be recognised as a national hero.

“Our athletes have propelled this country to a great level
and the best gift that can befit the late is recognition.

“Therefore, he should become a legend,” he said.

A relative to the late Antao, Ivan Fernandes urged the local government to honour the late Antao with one of the Mombasa roads.

“The runner broke the national records in Mombasa , trained in the town and achieved a lot of honours for this city and it would be appropriate if his spirit will live with us in Mombasa ,” he said.

The late Antao broke records in the 100 and 200 yards at the national level, East African championships and during the Commonwealth.

The Athlete died in London after a battle with cancer.

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Seraphino Started The 'Gold Rush'

His vision of making Kenya a Nation of
winning athletes was humbly realized

Coastweek -- This is a tribute to the late athlete Seraphino Antao who made track  history for Mombasa and Kenya .

Seraphino Antao was born in Makadara, Mombasa on 30th October 1937.
He was the first child to Diogo Manuel and Anna Maria Antao who hailed from Chandor in Goa India.

He, together with his six siblings all, grew up in Mombasa and studied at the Goan School Mombasa.

At school, Seraphino discovered that he had an athletic prowess and participated in several sprint events and was member of the Achilles Athletic Club.

In 1957 he had the opportunity to participate in National Competitions in Nairobi .

He trained on the Goan Institute grounds; at the Mombasa Municipal stadium and on the sandy beaches around Mombasa .

Coastweek -- Seraphino Antao winning 100 yards Gold for Kenya at the 1962 Commonwealth Games Perth, Australia.

With his disciplined preparation and sacrifice he broke the Kenya National records for the 100 and 200 yards in 1957.

He also shattered the world record for 220 yards at our Mombasa Municipal Stadium and equaled the world record for the 100 yards in Ireland ; unfortunately both were not ratified.

In hindsight I imagine this inspired him to sense his potential for becoming a world class Champion in athletics and to create an early vision that - Kenya must be a Nation of  winning athletes – and that he was going to aspire to make that happen!

Seraphino was passionate about achieving more sporting fame for his young country, his Community, his family and himself.

He took part at the Common-wealth Games held in Wales in 1958, and in 1960 participated in the Olympic Games, which prepared him for the zenith of his athletic career.

In 1962 aged 25, Seraphino competing against seasoned world class athletes, won Kenya’s very first Gold medals at the Commonwealth games held in Perth Australia; clocking an amazing 9.5 seconds for the 100 yards and 21.1 seconds in the 220 yards  - A great sprinter - ‘as fast as a Cheetah’.

Following his double gold win  Kenya ’s late President Jomo Kenyatta sent a telegram to Seraphino which read.

To Seraphino Antao Common-wealth and Empire Games Perth.

You have really become Kenya’s priceless jewel in sports and a shining athletics star.

Please accept our profound appreciation of your tremendous success.

– Jomo Kenyatta

His vision of making Kenya a Nation of winning athletes – was humbly realized as he was first to sprint across the finishing line; winning the very first Gold medals for Kenya at the 1962  Commonwealth games held in Perth Australia.

A win that not only made his vision come alive but also inspired  Kenyan athletes to follow with many more golds - and to quote Seraphino – ‘In a way I started the Kenya gold rush’

Seraphino continued his athletic career wining several gold medals in East and Central Africa .

He was the flag bearer for the Kenyan Olympic team for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

He eventually passed leadership to long distance runner Kipchoge Keino.

He emigrated to the UK in 1965 where he took up employment and continued as an athletic coach.

He returned for visits to Kenya in 2003 and 2005.

Sadly Seraphino Antao passed away in London on 6th September 2011 after a brave battle with cancer.

The late Seraphino Antao was a pioneering athlete from Kenya – the fastest Goan sprinter in the world, who brought athletic glory to Mombasa , Kenya , Goa and India .

He has left a unique and inspiring legacy especially for the  people of Mombasa .

His distinctive and historic contribution, made by winning  Kenya ’s very first Gold medals at the Commonwealth games and being recognized by the late President Kenyatta as Kenya ’s  priceless jewel in sports and a shining athletics' star, is living history that we must continue to remember.

At a memorial service held in his tribute in Mombasa on October 1st, 2011, and which was attended by the Hon Minister Najib  Balala Kenya’s Minister for Tourism; the Assistant High Commissioner for India and the Hon. Portuguese Consul; the Goan Community Mombasa made a call to the Government of  Kenya, to name a road in Mombasa in memory of Mombasa’s  Golden National athletic hero, Seraphino Antao.

We look forward to seeing ‘ Seraphino Antao Road ’ in Mombasa .

In this way we will remember and keep his legacy alive in the future and his sprit will  live on.

May his outstanding contribution to the Kenyan; East African and International athletic arenas be always remembered; and the fame and motivation he brought to East Africa be forever etched into the legacy of the Heroes of Kenya, East Africa and Goa .

Ivan Fernandes, on behalf of Goan Community, Mombasa .

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From Coastweek issue 3441: October 14 - 20, 2011
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Seraphina Antao - 'National Hero'

Our legendary hero deserves a street named after him
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Coastweek-- Seraphina Antao should be right up there with Kenya ’s greats such as the legendary Kipchoge Keino, but the drum beats can only be heard of in the coastal publications.

Reiterating the words of his relative, Ivan Fernandes, Our legendary hero deserves a street named after him.

A Coastal hero deserves a befitting memory and naming a road will ensure that for generations to come, this humble legends name shall resonate in the hearts of his brethren.

Quoting Benjamin Disraeli, “The Legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example” who better than our The First Gold Medallist of a young and Independent Kenya?

Jose Pirela, N/A.

j.pirela@ymail.com 

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