The first batch of Team Kenya for the 24th Summer Deaflympics in Caxias do Sul, Brazil on May 1-15, jets out today. The second team departs for the global games on Saturday.
The Kenyan contingent of 136 athletes has been inspired by President Uhuru Kenyatta to go for glory in the championships.
The President urged the team to strive for positions in the medal bracket and surpass the 2017 performance in Samsun, Turkey which realised a total of 16 medals (5 gold, 5 silver, 6 bronze).
He also encouraged the athletes to emulate Kenya’s middle and long distance runners who have reigned supreme at the Summer Olympics and Paralympics Games over the years.
“Kenya is a sporting nation as has been witnessed in athletics, rugby and the WRC Safari Rally,” Uhuru said at State House in Nairobi on Tuesday where he flagged off the team.
“As you proceed to Brazil, know that you have the full support of not only your Government but also your fellow brothers and sisters,” Uhuru said.
He commended the team for proving that in Kenya “Disability is not Inability” with their great effort to qualify for the games.
The President assured the team of maximum support from the Government as well as all Kenyans, expressing optimism that the players will bring pride and joy to the country in the competition.
“We will be supporting you, we shall be cheering you all the way,” Uhuru said.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said national teams representing the country in regional and international competitions are now well facilitated by the Sports, Arts, and Social Development Fund.
“We are now sending a big delegation to Brazil compared to the last edition in 2017 in Turkey. This team has, in addition, women’s football, men’s handball and women’s handball, so we expect to come back with more medals,” Amina said.
Besides the usual training at the Kasarani camp, the players were taken through anti-doping sensitisation, mental health and media relations.