Africa deaf athletes’ championships start at Kasarani

Kenya team at the opening ceremony of the first Africa Deaf Athletics Championship at Kasarani. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]
Hosts Kenya will be seeking a perfect start at the inaugural Africa Deaf Athletics Championships as the chase for continental gold begins today at Kasarani Stadium.

Juster Kwamesa, Laureen Ngonga and Grancy Jebichi will be the first to take to the track and battle opponents from across the continent for medals in the women’s 10000m contest. Kwamesa, who emerged top at the national trials in July will be expect to lead the way as Kenya chase a possible 1-2-3 finish. Kwamesa, who will also be contesting the 5000m title is eying the gold medal and hopes to shake off stiff competition from fellow Kenyans as well as her challengers from Ethiopia.

Teen sensation Hannah Wanjiru will be looking to bag her first gold in the women’s 1500m contest. She will, however, have to be at her best to outshine compatriots Viola Jelimo and Jebichi who as well as other runners more so the Ethiopians who are Kenya’s major threat. Kokobi Omar, John Koech and Dennis Kiprop will be looking to win more medals for Kenya in the men’s 1500m challenge.

Martin Gache will be looking to make a memorable international debut in the men’s 10000m race. Gache together with Peter Toroitch and Amos Langat will be out to ensure that the visitors don’t snatch any medal. In field events, Odera Idera and Chaka Anzazi will battle for medals in women’s long jump while Bernard Onyango, Benjamin Kimitei and Meshack Wachira will compete in men’s discuss final.

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Sprints siblings David Wamira and Beryl Wamira will take to the track to battle for final places in the men and women’s 100m races.

David, who is also the team Kenya captain said they will be out to extend Kenya’s athletics dominance. “We have everything we need to excel, we are ready for the contest and are not afraid to face our opponents because we are equal to task. Kenya is an athletics powerhouse and we are determined to maintain our country’s legacy,” David said.

Team Kenya coach Sammy Kibet said the country should expect medals. “Our athletes are very young, strong and eager to excel and so Kenyans should expect medals from day from the first event of the championship. We had excellent preparations and competing at Kasarani is also an added because no athlete wants to be outshined at home,” Kibet said.  

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The Kenyans will be up against athletes from Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Libya, Mozambique, Zanzibar and neighbours Uganda.

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Africa Deaf Athletics ChampionshipsKasarani Stadium