Seraphino Antao

Seraphino Antao (October 30, 1937 – September 6, 2011) was a runner from Kenya. He won two events at the 1962 Commonwealth Games, making him the first Kenyan athlete to win a gold medal at an international level.[1] He is of Asian origin (specifically Goan), from low altitude coastal city of Mombasa and was a sprinter, making him an atypical Kenyan athlete.


Early career

Seraphino Antao grew up in Ganjoni and Makupa estates of Mombasa. He is a son of Diogo Manuel and Anna Maria and has six siblings and was the neighbour of the musician and double bass player Francisco Mendes. While at Goan High School he took several sports but inclined towards short distance running. In 1957 he broke the Kenyan 100 and 220 yards records.

He competed at the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, Wales, but without much success. Two years later Antao competed at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Italy, where he reached 100 metres semi finals and 200 metres second round.

Commonwealth success and later career

1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth, Australia marked the highest point of his career, when he won 100 and 220 yards gold medal. He was also member of the Kenyan 4 x 440 yards relay team which finished fifth. Other members of the relay team were Wilson Kiprugut, Kimaru Songok and Peter Francis. The same year he won two gold medals (100 and 220 yard) at the British AAA Championships, which he attended three times. He also won several gold medals at the East and Central African Championships.

Kenya had gained independence in December 1963 and Antao became the first Kenyan Olympic flagbearer at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, but was ill and did not perform as well as expected at the track. He reached 200 metres second round  but was eliminated at the heats of 100 metres

After the Olympics, he retired from the sport and moved to London, England. In 2003 he made a rare visit to Kenya attending the 50th anniversary of Kenya Amateur Athletics Association (today Athletics Kenya). Seraphino Antao died on September 6, 2011, following a battle with cancer. (Source)

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