Kibai, Rono win gold as Kenyans hit jackpot in Summer Games

Kenya's 400m women's team in Brazil. [Kellya Ayodi, Standard]

Kenyan athletes ran riot on the second last day of the 24th Summer Deaflympics yesterday by winning two gold, three silver and three bronze.

The medal haul, engineered by men’s 10000m record holder Simon Cherono Kibai, brought the country’s tally to 24 (5 gold, 7 silver and 12 bronze).

This ultimately surpassed the total 16 won in Turkey in 2017, and 20 which the Kenyan contingent had targeted in Brazil.

Kibai braved a heavy downpour to successfully defend his men’s 5000m title.

The 35-year-old-father of two was in a class of his own as he alternated his lead with the new kid on the block Ian Wambui Kahinga before the duo settled for a 1,2 sweep.

“I’m extremely happy that I have managed to defend both my 10000m and 5000m titles,” he said.

“I promised and I delivered,” Kibai said.

Last Monday, Kibai defended his 10000m title at the championships while Kahinga made his debut in style last Tuesday by winning gold in men’s 1500m.

“Kahinga was a very strong opponent, I felt his challenge on the track. I think he has a bright future,” Kibai said.

Kibai said he can’t wait to present his two gold medals to President Uhuru Kenyatta, who had promised to reward the Deaflympics contingent with Sh10million should they surpass the medal haul won in the last edition in Turkey.

“I think I have done the country proud. My records can now speak for themselves. I’m asking the President Uhuru for a job, especially in the forces,” said Kibai.

Kibai, however, said the cold weather in Brazil affected his performance as he could not stretch beyond his limit.

“My next focus is the World Championships in Taipei and the Deaflympics in Japan. I hope to break the records,” he said.

At the same time, Elikana Rono clocked 1.54.75 to win gold in men’s 800m. Sharon Jeptarus Bitok, who settled for a last minute silver in women’s 1500m last Tuesday, also took the cue to bag silver in the women’s 800m.

Jeptarus clocked 2.21.57 as her compatriot Rebecca Matiko took bronze in 2.22.24.

Grancy Kendagor, who one week ago won bronze in 10000m, clocked 18.16.44 in her win in 5000m.


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