Sammy Koskei (born 14 May 1961) is a former Kenyan middle distance runner who specialized in the 800m dash….as one of the best Kenyan 800m competitors in the 1980’s with some really fast times…. but he lacked success at the international major championships. His breakthrough year was 1982 when the youngster broke 1:45 second barrier for the first time in his career. That same year he made the 800m final at the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane….but finished a distant last…..as the same fate befell Koskei at the World Championships in Helsinki in 1983, this time in the preliminaries.
Another year later, Koskei won his first 800m title at the African Championships in Rabat….however, he found it very difficult to represent his country at the international competitions due to great depth of Kenyan talents….thus failing to reach the final at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984. On 26 August 1984 he ran the 800m in 1:42.28 minutes….after finishing second behind Joaquim Cruz who won the race in 1:41.77….as these two times were the two fastest times in the world that season….and moreover, the second and third fastest times in history at the time, behind Sebastian Coe.
In 1985, Koskei retained his African 800m title at championships in Cairo….and had another successful European circuit season….while recording the 8th fastest time in the World in 1985 with a time of 1:43.78min. On 30 August, at Brussels, he won the 1000 metres with a superb time of 2:14.95 min. In October, he represented Africa at the World Cup in Canberra and won 800m race easily in a time of 1:45.14 min…..as seen in this video herewith.
Since Wilson Kipketer represented Denmark when he set his world record….Sammy Koskei’s time of 1:42.28 was the African record that lasted for 25 years until 2009 when David Rudisha of Kenya posted a faster time (1:42.01).