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November 18, 2018

Gun To Tape – Kenya's Olympic Journey

Kenya's David Lekuta Rudisha competes in a past event.
Kenya's David Lekuta Rudisha competes in a past event.

The Olympics may long be over but Kenyan athlete champion David Lekuta Rudisha is still blazing hot. The 800 meters champion was recently ranked the 3rd hottest man in the 2012 Olympics in an article titled Hottest Olympic Athletes Around the World.

Incidentally, Rudisha bagged one of Kenya's only two gold medals in the renowned athletics competition in which Kenyan athletes performed dismally much to the dismay of their fans. However, besides winning gold, Rudisha captured the attention of critics and fans alike for his rich dark-complected skin, height and physique.

At the start of the Olympics, Gun to Tape – a documentary based on the pre-Olympic training activities of Kenyan athletes was launched in Nairobi. Rudisha together with marathon world champion Edna Langat feature prominently in this documentary as the leading athletes of the strongest ever Kenyan squad sent to compete on the international front.

Thus the film tracks their grueling training and other personal battles faced by the athletes in their attempt to qualify for the 2012 Olympics. Rudisha cuts a striking figure in the documentary by looking lean, and sleek in his body-hugging training gear and towering a head taller above the other athletes.

More often than not he is pictured with study-looking silver and black headphones wrapped around his head as he sprints across the track. When asked what music type of music he listens while training, he quite shyly but smilingly says, “Some R&B, reggae, gospel and a few others that are my special secret.

I won't tell anyone tell anyone about them.” Cut to a clip of Brother Colm O'Connell, Rudisha's high school coach and who perhaps better describes the athletic symmetry of David Rudisha. “David is an elegant runner. His running style is really impressive [mostly because] he has come to terms with the alignment of his body to the ground”.

Rudisha and other athletes also got to have their pictures exhibited in a photo exhibition dubbed Kenya's Olympic Journey at Alliance Francaise,Nairobi. It showcased throughout the month of August. Also featured in the exhibition was boxing, Kenya's second Olympic medal harvester next to athletics.

As such, an intriguing black and white photograph of Kamau Chege, veteran at Madison Square Garden – the home of the Nakuru Amateur Boxing club often referred to as the cradle of Kenya boxing. Chege is photographed adjusting the gum shield of his charge and what was particularly intriguing about this photo is the the almost tender look in his eye as he does this job as a coach.

Yet another captivating photo is that of Sylvester Cheruiyot and his twin brother Elias Kiptum pictured enjoying cups of tea and chapati at a local cafe. Apparently, the former decided to become a runner when his brother started winning races, making money and building a better life for himself through athletics.

Jackie Lebo was the executive producer of Gun to Tape and curator of Kenya's Olympic Journey. More great photographs in the exhibition were by Robert Njuguna with one of them being a black and white photograph of Lorna Kiplagat, a former recorder holder in the half-marathon.

Other great black and white photos in this exhibition were courtesy of the ministry of information and culture. They included a black and white photo of javelin thrower Justus Arap Karatin lifting weights while another javelin thrower Maboria Tesot and Archie Evans, a colonial officer looks on. Rugby was also another sporting activity featured in this photo exhibition.

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