By Barry Silah @obel_barry
He is no stranger to the racquet game having been involved actively in tennis from around 1996. Patrick Kamuhia is a household name in Kenya having been an inspirational in developing the game back in the ranch and regionally. Incidentally as he attests, he stumbled into tennis at a later stage of his life.
“I only got involved with tennis while at Kenyatta University while a student.But the interest bloomed big time because I learned quickly the rules. I never got a chance to play at a junior level,’’ he says.
Over the years, he got immersed deeply and grew immensely following the passion he had developed. From a fringe player in the university team, to a coach in Kianda School, Kamuhia has scaled the heights and gone full circle.
“I have tested it all in this game and have given it my best.I have been privileged to work as a player, coach, referee and even administrator in the country,’’ says Kamuhia. During all this phase, he has been a globetrotter in tennis meets and identify with the dynamics of the modern game.
From Asia to Europe and the Americas Kamuhia has just about run the whole mile and continues to pursue his interests as a top ITF referee. It is his opinion that the game has grown and can continue to blossom at least on the playing front.
“Though its been a while since we had a player in the ATP top 100 like Paul Wekesa was in 1990s, I would say participation at both junior and senior level is higher, there are more players getting scholarships to play and study at top universities in the USA, a case in point is the 2014 Kenya Open winner Ismael Changawa.
Currently, Kenya has some of the most qualified and experienced coaches and referees in sub-Saharan Africa,” says the Environmental Science graduate.
Granted there have been challenges in the local game particularly on funding and technical capacity but Kenya Lawn Tennis Association has done its bit in developing a plan for growth. Kamuhia still believes that some perceptions about tennis continue to hamper desirable progress.
“The fact that tennis is widely regarded as an elitist sport has been to me, the biggest challenge hindering its growth and spread in sub-Saharan Africa as such there are less opportunities for people involved directly in the sport especially players, coaches and referees,” he reflects.
As it stands, his association with the sports has seen him create Sports Concepts, a promotional agency which engages the youth on the physical challenges. Kamuhia holds invaluable expertise and is regarded as one of the region’s finest chair umpires. “I am lucky to have attained my status through hardwork and dedication to the course.
From ITF Level 1 to Level 3, I have learnt a lot in Nairobi, Pretoria and Doha,” he states. Apart from his qualifications, he has served as the KLTA Assistant Secretary-General and a Member of the National Junior Tennis Development Committee, Facilitator and Resource person for the Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association.
Kamuhia was team manager of the 2014 Second Africa Youth Games in Gaborone, Botswana where Kenya won a silver in the boys double event. His journey to the elite refereeing cast inspires.