Tag Archives: Eunice Sum

Brother Colm recognised for coaching in Kenya

Brother Colm O’Connell says it is a “tremendous honour” to receive an award from the Irish government for his work coaching athletes in Kenya.

The Catholic brother is among 11 recipients of this year’s Presidential Distinguished Service Award, which recognise the contributions of the Irish diaspora.

He has spent over 40 years coaching middle- and long-distance runners in the east African country, nurturing world and Olympic champions and world record holders including double Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha.

“It’s incredible and unbelievable that I should be selected,” O’Connell told BBC Sport Africa.

“It is the highest honour a person can get, especially people from the diaspora.

“I often wonder sometimes how somebody who lives in a remote village in Kenya can be singled out. It’s a tremendous honour and very, very special.”

A Catholic missionary in Iten

Originally from County Cork, Brother Colm’s association with Kenya began in 1976 when he joined the staff of St Patrick’s High School in Iten.

The school for boys, which was was set up by Irish missionaries and built on a hillside overlooking the Rift Valley, went on to establish a world-class track and field record.

Brother Colm’s first Olympic success came in 1988 when Peter Rono, then aged 21, became the youngest-ever winner of the 1500m at the Seoul Games.

Matthew Birir and Brimin Kipruto, both winners of the Olympic 3,000m steeplechase title, also worked under O’Connell.

He also developed female talent such as two-time world marathon champion Edna Kiplagat and former world 800m champions Janeth Jepkosgei and Eunice Sum.

O’Connell with Rudisha in 2012 before the Olympics, where the Kenyan won gold with a world-record time

“The coaching of Kenyan athletes, and particularly in the area of youth – identifying young talent and nurturing it – has been very much part of my aim right from the beginning,” he said.

“I think that’s one area I really came very far in. The success at the top level came as a progression from the young people that I was coaching.

“Maybe one of the most satisfactory things was the development of the women athletes in my group. That is something that I’m very proud of.

“I would like to think that, as a person working in Kenya, I had an impact on young people’s lives through athletics – using it to add value to young people’s lives, to give them a future, hope and values.”

‘My biggest satisfaction is the lives I’ve impacted’

Brother Colm, now in his early 70s, has found a balance between keeping his Irish roots alive and embracing life in Kenya, he says.

“I’ve always felt part of my Irish community, and I think that has been a strength to me because there is strength in diversity,” he said.

“I’ve always felt very encouraged by the support I’ve been given by my family and community in Ireland. And of course, I had a very high level of integration into the Kenyan community.

“That has played a huge role in helping me to reach the level [I have], between being Irish and being Kenyan.”

He previously received a coaching achievement award from World Athletics in 2019 and also has a street named after him in Iten.

“I have been recognized locally, and I appreciate that,” he added.

“But I didn’t come to Iten to find an achievement. In a sense, my biggest satisfaction is the athletes themselves and the people’s lives I have impacted.”

Brother Colm will be presented with the award by Irish President Michael D. Higgins at a ceremony on 2 December.

Interview with Brother Colm O’Connell by BBC Sport Africa’s Lynne Wachira.

Milcah Chemos: I was like a mother to Agnes Tirop…

Athletics Kenya athletes representative Milcah Chemos has admitted that the late Agnes Jebet Tirop was hardworking athlete and a very jovial person in her career.

It’s just too painful for me as Milcah, I have been like a mother to Agnes, and she calls me madam every time we talk.

On Monday at around 4:00pm, we talked for two minutes, “I congratulated her and told her that I have a present for you (which I still have it now) and we planned to meet in the course of this week,” said Chemos

We talked about her future on track and how she was ready to take over Hellen Obiri who has moved to the road race.

The reigning Tokyo 5,000m bronze medalist was found dead in her house at the free-area in Iten, Egeyo Marakwet County on Wednesday morning

The Athlete Rep led current and retired athletes to the home of the fallen hero to know exactly what befell their colleague. They included Janeth Jepkosgei, Asbel Kiprop, Kirwa Yego, Eunice Sum among others.

Tears flowed freely as it was hard to believe what they had seen. A young and brilliant soul had been taken away too soon.

Last month, Tirop set a new 10km new world record at the Adizero Road to Records in Herzogenaurach, Germany with the women-only record of 30:01 to win the race.

“I plead with the athletes not to suffer in silence, please open up and share, talk to someone, neighbor or a friend, help will come your way, if only you open up,” Chemos concluded.

Nyairera out to make amends as she battles Semenya and Niyosaba in Lausanne

Olympic 800m bronze medallist Margaret Nyairera is seeking to bounce back at the Lausanne Diamond League meeting tomorrow after failing to finish in Paris a week ago.

Nyairera has had a mixed season so far at the circuit, finishing sixth at the Prefontaine Classic in Oregon, where she posted 1:58.67 in her first outing.
Nyairera hopes to find her form ahead of the Africa Championships slated for Nigeria next month. “The Diamond league races will enable me find the right form ahead of the Africa Championship,” she added.
Nyairera, who bagged silver the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast last April, said the early start to the season has contributed to her struggles on track. “The season started early with the Commonwealth Games but I hope come the Africa even,  I will be in peak condition,” she added. World and Commonwealth Games champion Caster Semenya won the two-lap race in Paris in 1:54.25. Former world champion Eunice Sum will also be in contention in the Swiss city after finishing ninth in 1:59.25 in Paris.
The two Kenyans will face off with Olympic silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi, who was second in Paris behind Semenya in 1:55.86. Others to look out for include Ajee Wilson of the United States, home favourite Selina Buchel, Lynsey Sharp of the United States and Alemu Habitam of Ethiopia.
Davis Kiplangat leads a formidable strong Kenyan contingent in the 5000 metres alongside Collins Cheboi, Vincent Letting, David Bett, Sylvester Kiprotich and Richard Kimunyan in the 12-lap race.
They face stern test from Ethiopia’s World champion Muktar Edris alongside Yomif Kekelecha and world Under-18 champion Selemon Barega in a competitive field that is expected to produce fireworks.
Winny Chebet will lead Kenya’s hunt in the 1,500 metres alongside Nelly Jepkosgei and Emiliy Cherotich. The trio will be up against Hassan Sifan (Netherlands), Meraf Bahta (Sweden), Laura Muir (Great Britain), Dawit Seyaum, Gudaf Tsegay (Ethiopia), Liden Hall (Australia) and Arafi Rababe (Morocco).

Cheruiyot leads formidable lineup for Paris Diamond League

World and Commonwealth 1500m silver medallist Timothy Cheruiyot leads a formidable lineup to the Paris Diamond League meeting on Saturday.

Cheruiyot, who is part of Team Kenya to the Africa Senior Championships, will be hoping to continue his rich vein of form on the circuit.

He won the 800m at Kenya Prisons Championships a fortnight ago posting 1:44.7 and clinched last month’s Diamond League meeting in Shanghai after posting 3:31.48 in his specialty.

Cheruiyot, who has played second fiddle to World and Commonwealth Games champion Elijah Manangoi in the recent past, is confident of his from.

“My form is good and I am confident this year I can strike gold at the Africa championship in Nigeria and I will be using the Diamond League meeting to gauge my form as part of my preparations,” said Cheruiyot.

Cheruiyot, the Diamond League trophy holder, will enjoy the company of compatriots Bethwell Birgen and Charles Simotwo. The Kenyan trio will be up against a competitive field that includes home favourite Mahidiene Benabad, Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman, Morocco ‘s Abdelaati Iguider, New Zealand’s Nick Willis, and Ethiopian trio of Wote Aman, Samuel Tefera and Taresa Tolosa as well as Filip Ingebrigsten of Norway.

Africa cross country champion Celliphine Chespol is the favourite in the 3000m steeplechase. Chespol, who has a season’s best of 9:05.14 and is world under 20 champion, leads a formidable lineup which includes former world champion Hyving Kiyeng, Beatrice Chepkoech, Roseline Chepngetich, Ann Gathoni, Norah Jeruto, Purity Kirui, Caroline Tuigong and Daisy Jepkemei .

They face Commonwealth Games champion in the distance Aisha Praught of Jamaica who will be keen to show her win in Gold Coast was not a fluke. Others to look out for are Canada’s Lalonde Genevieve and Fabiennne Schlumpf of Switzerland.

Former World 800m champion Eunice Sum is entered in the two-lap race and faces a Herculean task against fellow compatriots Olympic bronze medallist Margaret Nyairera, and Emily Cherotich .The Kenyan trio have their work cut out against World and Commonwealth Games champion Caster Semenya of South Africa, Olympic silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi and Ajee Wilson of the United States of America.

World 800m bronze medallist Kipyegon Bett enters the fray in the two lap race alongside Ferguson Rotich and Jonathan Kitilit. They will compete against World champion Pierre Ambroise of France and Eric Sowinski of the United States.