Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Watching David Rudisha's film with his coach, Brother Colm O'Connell

From right Nicholas Leong (Kenyan Riders), Jean Paul (Director Kerio View Hotel), Brother Colm O'Connell (Rudisha's Coach) and Jeroen Deen (Physio from NED)

Sometimes in life, we just end up being at some place just at the right time. The 23rd of April 2014 was my day. I happened to be in Iten, at the Kerio View hotel just on time when Brother Colm, in the company of Jeroen Deen, a physiotherapist; Nicholas Leong, founder of the Kenyan Riders and Jean Paul, director of Kerio View hotel, was, for the first time, about to watch the BBC documentary on David Rudisha; "100 seconds to beat the world."

The film itself was one of the best documentaries I had ever seen in my life. It was one film I would wish to watch again and again. It shows Rudisha's daring journey from a very humble beginning, through so many challenges on his way up to becoming the Olympic champion at the 2012 London Olympics. After watching the film, one gets inspired and learns some valuable lessons about working hard to achieve one's success.
But, sitting there next to Brother Colm, Rudisha's all-time coach, was a different experience altogether. Not only was it great that he would elaborate more about a particular scene, but his surprised expressions at some particular instances when he would come across some particular scenes he never knew anyone had filmed him were priceless. At some points when the film reminded him of great moments and showed him laughing or smiling, he would react the same way while watching it. At some intense moments in the film, he would also react the same way while watching it. In short, he was as moved as the rest of us watching in the room.
In most parts of the film, one gets to enjoy a lot of humor from Brother Colm. There was a point he had to scare some kids to run away then exclaimed, "that's how to make champions!" At another point, he asks Rudisha to stand up very slowly in order not to blow up the roof of a shade; because the guy was tall. Then there was a point when he was answering a question from a journalist as to whether there was a "secret" to running. Of which he replied, as he pointed at the athletes running on the field, "the secret is in the head."
At the beginning of the film where Rudisha appears as a small boy as he joined St. Patricks School, one would wonder if someone had known that he was ever going to become an Olympic champion one time, because it is as though whoever took those early video clips knew that they were going to be very valuable at one time. There is a video of Rudisha running his first 800m event in which he won despite the fact that he was afraid, at first, to start in the race.
When Rudisha was able to win a gold medal at the world junior championships in 2006, Brother Colm was doubtful he was going to return to Iten. Most other athletes would leave his school and go out with other coaches. But, Rudisha did return, which made him encouraged and more determined to mold him into a world beater.
However, the path to success from there didn't go on very smoothly. There were injuries that slowed him down and some racing strategies that needed to be corrected. For example, what prevented Rudisha from reaching the finals at the 2009 world championships was just but a poor race strategy.
They finally figured that out in 2010 when Rudisha started front running and many successes began to follow, including world records and sports personality awards.