New jumping coach
during a training
BT/Yee Chun Leong
Kameni Joseph has a dream; to one day produce world-class athletes from Brunei.
The Cameroonian arrived in the Sultanate in the first week of July and has taken the position of national jumping coach.
Having started out in 1992, the 49-year-old has over 20 years of coaching experience and has plied his trade mostly in his home soil as well as France and Gabon.
Cameroonians Francoise Mbango Etone and Hugo Mamba-Schlick are two athletes he has coached early in their career.
Etone eventually went on to win gold in the triple jump event at both the 2004 and 2008 Olympics Games while Mamba-Schlick, finished with a silver at the Commonwealth Games in India in 2010.
Joseph told The Brunei Times that he feels that Brunei has got potential and believes that dreams do come true.
"Back in 1994, I told her (Etone) that one day she will win medals at the Olympics - she just laughed at me and said that I was dreaming," said Joseph yesterday.
"There is nothing wrong to dream but you should go and try to achieve it.
"I had the opportunity to go to Canada but I wanted to take up the challenge (here) as the level is a lot lower in Brunei.
"I want to bring it up and hopefully be able to produce world class athletes from Brunei," continued Joseph when met during a training session at the Balapan Track and Field of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas.
Joseph said that he has adjusted well to life in Brunei having been in the Sultanate for just over three months now.
"It was difficult for me during my first few weeks here because of the weather. I've adapted myself and I'm just happy to be at the stadium," he said.
"Bruneians are nice and polite. They always smile and give their greeting," he added.
There are only a handful of jumpers that train under him but the coach is looking at the big picture and is hoping that there will be more athletes under him in the near future.
"There are not enough athletes at the moment but the ones that are training with me have a lot of potential," said Joseph.
"I have to organise my training programme to suit the athletes.
"It doesn't matter what time we have to train as long as the athletes are available.
"This is the first test and I know that the athletes will give it their best
"We are looking to promote the sport first through schools and get more people interested.
"I like to start from the ground up and build the foundation.
"We are looking at a long term plan, not just short term.
"Hopefully more people can come and pick up the sport... It is free anyway," he continued.
The national jumpers are just glad to have a new coach considering that they have been without one since 2007.
"Training under coach Kameni is really tough," said Abdul Haqim Hj Yahya, a national high jumper, who is selected to compete at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar in December.
"He has different kind of training compared to the old coach - it is more on power and speed.
"Also now most of our training sessions are at the gym and plyometrics," he added.
National triple jumper, Md Izzat Hj Abdul Majid, is already seeing some improvements.
"So far everything is okay. It is good because there was no coach before this," said Md Izzat.
"Training is really tough because it is a very high level training programme.
"But I can see that I'm progressing well," he added.