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Kenya' s pioneer coach has trained many athletics greats

25 April 2016, 14:35

Nairobi (Xinhua) -- Samson Katam is one of the first Kenyans to hold qualification in sports coaching, and by his deft hands some of Kenya' s greatest athletes have passed.

Going about his normal police duties in the far-flung Wajir County in northeastern Kenya in the 1990s, little did Administration Police (AP) head coach Katam know that two decades later he would be listed among Kenya' s best athletics coaches.

His long and winding journey started coming to fruition at the turn of the new Millennium when he was posted to Nairobi after serving the AP for eight years.

"Upon transfer to Nairobi I requested for exemption from regular duty to concentrate in athletics; a request that was granted and thus marked a major turning point in my career," the former 1,500m runner told Xinhua during an interview on Sunday.

He represented the AP in various competitions at the time when his outfit was still not affiliated to Athletics Kenya, which denied athletes from the department the necessary-needed recognition.

"I enrolled at Malezi College located in Nairobi in 2006 for a course in Sports Coaching where I was one of the pioneer students at a time when the institution was the only one offering the course in the country," he reminisced.

An alumnus of Moi University, Katam' s coaching career has grown by leaps and bounds. It was while at Malezi College that he was handed the mantle of steering AP athletics team as head coach armed with a Diploma in Sports Coaching.

In 2008, Administration Police Athletics Province was finally affiliated to Athletics Kenya, marking a milestone for the department that previously lurked in the shadows of its disciplined counterparts - Kenya Defense Forces, Kenya Police and Kenya Prisons - athletics wise.

Administration Police has since merged with the Kenya Police to form what is today known as the Kenya Police Service; a move that he says has been an ardent motivational factor for athletes.

Among those in his stable as his charges include former world marathon record holder, Patrick Makau, and former world marathon champion, Abel Kirui.

Katam says he has trained over 30 top-notch coaches who are currently serving in different parts of the country.

In 2010, Katam used the diploma from Malezi College to enroll for another Diploma in Sports Management at Moi University before enrolling for a degree course at Moi University.

"The Diploma from Malezi College helped me a great deal because it is internationally recognized. Before that, no Kenyan had proper qualifications for coaching in athletics and I set precedence," he glamoured.

Katam is also one of the five qualified starters in Kenya and was often referred to as "the tall man in a red coat" during the Africa Senior Athletics Championship, owing to his towering feature.

- Xinhua


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