First Lady Rachel among mourners at cyclist Kangangi burial.

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In-coming First Lady Racheal Ruto was among mourners who attended the funeral of the late cyclist Waitueka ‘Suleiman’ Kangangi and paid their last respects on Thursday in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County.

Popularly known as Sule, the former Kenyan cyclist kicked the bucket last week, after he was involved in an accident during the Overland Gravel race in Vermont, USA.

Mrs. Ruto, patron of Mama Cycling, described Kangangi as a role model in cycling and was always ready to assist anyone who wanted to venture into cycling.

“As some of you may be aware, I love cycling and I am the Patron of Mama Cycling, an initiative that brings cyclists and cycling enthusiasts together.

“When we started this venture, we would all pick our bikes and cycle, hardly watching out for each other, and with little understanding of group dynamics.

“It took Kangangi to ride with us and he gently but firmly made us understand why we have to look out for one another,” said Mrs. Ruto.

She added that Kangangi was a personal friend to her and after the rides, the team would sit down to share a cup of tea.

“To the cycling community, I know you are hurting at the loss of an icon. It is very difficult to believe that Sule is gone, but we soldier on with courage. May God give us all comfort. Thank you and God bless you all,” she said in her message. 

As the founder of Kenya Riders, Kangangi was the captain of the Kenyan team at 2015 All Africa Games in Congo, Brazzaville.

Fellow cyclist Jared Otiende said Sule was a mentor to many Kenyan riders.

“Sule is our father in cycling. The majority of these cyclists you are seeing here are like his sons and daughters,” said Otiende during the funeral service.

According to Otiende, who is the captain of Amani Racing, Sule had told him that he was going for his last race before retiring and taking up coaching and mentorship.

 “He told me he was going for the championships with the sole purpose of winning and retiring as a cyclist. Little did we know that this was going to be his last race. It is sad we lost one of the greatest men in the profession,” Otiende said.

Kangangi’s mother Teresia Njoki mourned her firstborn son, saying he was a people’s person and assisted people beyond cycling. 

“He was hard-working and embraced all in the community. When I was unwell, he encourage me that all will be fine. It hurts,” mother mourned. His younger sister Joyce Wangare said, the elder brother was looked at as the pillar of their family.

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