Samson Kitur

Samson Kitur

Kitur was born in 1966 in Moiben, Uasin Gishu district. His elder brothers, Simon and David were also Olympic calibre athletes. David Kitur represented Kenya at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics in 400m while Simon Kitur represented Kenya at the same Olympics in the 400m hurdles.

He first appeared on the scene in 1986 as a promising 20 year old. A series of superb performances at local meets prompted the local dailies to proclaim him as the next big thing in Kenyan sprinting. However, he did not qualify for the 4th All Africa games in 1987 against the likes of David Kitur, John Anzrah and Elkin Nyangau.
By 1991, Kitur had already established himself as the premier one lap runner in Africa. At the 5th All Africa games in Cairo, Egypt, Kitur won the 400m, beating the much fancied Sunday Bada of Nigeria. He also anchored the Kenya team to win gold in the 4 X 400m.

In 1992 at the Olympics in Barcelona, Kitur announced himself to the world when he won the bronze medal in the 400m. It had been 20 years since a Kenyan won a sprint medal at the Olympics. At the final bend, Kitur was in 7th place and looked certain to finish out of the medal bracket. However he ran a storming final 50m to finish third behind Americans Quincy Watts and Harry Butch Reynolds. And he did it in a new Kenya record time of 44.18

At the 1993 World championships, Kitur repeated the feat again, once again finishing with a bronze medal. Kitur now had a reputation all over the athletics world for finishing his races like a freight train while other runners were tiring. Many termed him an endurance sprinter.

But it was in the 4 X 400m of the 1993 World championships that Kitur had his most memorable performance. Kenya had placed an unprecedented three runners in the 400m finals, with expectations soaring high. By  the time Kitur received the baton to run the final leg, Kenya was in 6th place and it looked like there was no chance for a medal. He stormed the final leg to take Kenya from sixth position to second place and a silver medal. It was a jaw dropping feat as Kitur blew past other world class runners.

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