Martin Keino is a son of the legendary Kipchoge Keino, who is one of Kenya’s most successful pioneer runners in the country. Despite taking up running like his father, Keino did not become such a big sensational runner but is now slowly making a name for himself in commentating at some of the big athletic events in the country.
On the 7th of May, he will be one of the commentators at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting in Nairobi; the Kip Keino Classic; just like he has been doing so in the last two editions.
Below is a brief interview with him.
Q: What were some of your exciting moments while commentating at the last event?
Martin: Definitely, it was Ferdinand Omanyala’s record-breaking 100m run which he ran competitively against some of the best sprinters in the world. So, yeah it was amazing to see him run that fast in Nairobi which opened so many doors not only for him but for most printers locally. They now have someone to look up to and who is showing them that it is possible and that we also have the potential in Kenya to do well in the sprints.
The other thing about the 100-meter run was that it was an eye-opener. As I sat down with some of the top runners later, all of them were saying that Nairobi is the destination to run fast times. So, it opened up space for top sprinters to come to Kenya to compete because they are now eager to come and run some fast times here. It means the standard of our event will rise to the highest level.
My experience as a commentator was even better as I got to commentate on a variety of different events and particularly, you know, being that it was at the end of the season. Just coming back from the Olympics and just at the end of the diamond league season, runners who had already done well in the season were coming here to compete and I got to interact with a lot of them.
I got to learn and get their feelings about how the season had been for them. The interaction and the discussions with some of the top athletes, you know, like El Bakkali who had defeated the Kenyans in the 3000m steeplechase event at the Olympic Games, with Faith Kipyegon who had just had a fabulous season, among others, was amazing for me. I got the information that nobody else had.
Q: What are you looking forward to at this year’s event?
Martin: This year, I am looking forward to again commentating on Omanyala and some other distance events. Given that this year’s event is at the beginning of the season rather than the end, it has a different outlook; everybody is sort of looking forward to the world championships, or the Commonwealth Games, so, I am eager to see how the athletes will approach the season given that this is the first major event for most of them. Usually, they have big hopes at the beginning of the year and of the season, so it could be interesting to take people through what the athletes are about to go through in the year ahead of them. It is going to be a fresh start for me and for everyone this year.
Q: How did you get into commentating on athletic events?
Martin: My interest in commentating started way back in 2007 while at the world cross country championships in Mombasa. Someone from the BBC asked if I could help them in their commentary and I took the chance. I was doing the junior and the races, so yeah that’s how I got here by accident. Then I was doing a lot of analysis post-event in Olympics and world championships for some other major broadcasters.
I have always looked up to commentators like Paul Walker and Steve Cram.
Q: What do you think makes the Kip Keino Classic event unique?
Martin: Kip Keino Classic is unique from other International competitions. Of course, it is now one of the best events in Africa. First of all, the track at the Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani, Nairobi is top quality and is the best in Kenya. The event, and the quality, has risen over the past two years so much so that it even does better than some of the Diamond League events