Sabina Chebichi: The Petticoat Runner

The story of an extraordinary Kenyan athlete through the lens of photojournalist Mohamed 'Mo' Amin.

By Mohamed Amin Foundation

The Petticoat Runner (1974) by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

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A natural born sports heroine

Sabina Chebichi was born in Trans Nzoia and was the fastest runner at her school. In 1962 she entered a running competition in Kericho and won. She was 14 years old and ran barefoot as she could not afford proper athletics kit.  

The Petticoat Runner (1974) by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

Sabina Chebichi 2
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A middle distance champion

In her first athletics meet, running barefoot and in a bright green petticoat, she ran the women’s 800 metres in 2:16.80, and the women’s 1,500 metres in 4:40! These were times that were already within measurable distance of the world records at the time!

The Petticoat Runner (1974) by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

Sabina Chebichi 3
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The defining moment

On 29 January 1974, Sabina Chebichi took part in the Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, New Zealand. She won a bronze medal in the 800 metre race which made her the first woman to win a medal for Kenya in athletics.

The Petticoat Runner (1974) by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

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Forever a heroine

Sabina Chebichi's achievements are extraordinary and her legacy is a testament to all children that they too can become world champions. 

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