By Joseph Ngure and Agencies
Veteran track coach Colm William O’Connell is to receive an Honorary Doctorate Degree for his unrivaled contribution in athletics in Kenya this week.
Dublin City University will confer the Honours on the world-renowned athletics coach tomorrow despite little recognition in Kenya.
He will be honoured at a special convocation in DCU to recognise his extraordinary contribution to sport through his coaching programme in Rift Valley province especially among the juniors.
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A member of the Patrician Missionary Order, Brother Colm joined St Patrick’s High School in Iten, Kenya as a geography teacher in 1976.
Thirty-six years later, he is still in Iten and is now acknowledged as the world’s most successful coach of endurance running, having nurtured five Olympic gold medalists and 25 world champions.
One of his recent discoveries, David Rudisha, World Record holder and winner of the 800m Gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics, will travel to Dublin to attend the event in The Helix.
“Brother O’Connell has become an iconic figure in Kenya and around the globe and DCU is proud to acknowledge his achievements. He is a remarkable individual who has touched the lives of many not only through his achievements in sport but also through his work for HIV and Aids patients in Kenya”.
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“A commitment to excellence, the transformative power of sport and social inclusion, so strongly advocated by Brother O’Connell, reside at the very heart of DCU’s mission and vision and we are delighted to add him to our list of eminent Honorary Graduates,” said Prof. MacCraith, the President of Dublin City University.
Rudisha congratulated his mentor and wished him all the best now and in future as he continues nurturing new athletics talents.
“It is a great honour for Mzee. He has done a lot and deserves the recognition. Dublin City University has done well in conferring the Honours to him,” said the star, who graced the weekend Safaricom Ndalat Gaa Kids Cross-country in Nandi.
Apart from Rudisha, other Olympic champions who have gone through the blessed hands of the clergyman includes Peter Rono, 1988 1,500 metres champion and Mathew Birir, the Barcelona Steeplechase champion.
Brother Colm, who has retired from active teaching to concentrate on his coaching and running the HIV and Aids Programme, is one of the unsung heroes in Kenya.
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