Kenya aiming to beat Turkey as Deaflympics Games start today

Kenya Deaf women handball team training before they left for Brazil. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

The 24th edition of the Deaflympics Summer Games kick off today in Caxias Do Sul, Brazil.

Kenya women deaf handball team will be the first side on duty at 8pm Kenyan time against seasoned Turkey who hosted the global showpiece in 2017.

Head coach Peter Mwanthi says he will rely on mental toughness of his charges in the expected cutthroat fixture.

“We are making a debut, we are young and inexperienced but I have prepared the girls psychologically for the match. I’m hopeful to pull a big surprise in the game,” Mwanthi said.

The tactician believes his defence is ready and his plan will be to beef up the centre to give the opponents no room to play.

He also has very speedy wingers who should supply the balls with ease from either corner.

“I have dealt with many strong teams outside Kenya so I’m well versed with their game plan,” Mwanthi said.

Should he win his first two encounters, Mwanthi will definitely be in the medal bracket.

The coach said he is so far impressed with the progress of his girls since hitting the camp at Kasarani on April 1 before their departure for Brazil last week.

He has singled out ball handling techniques to be one of the areas his players have made a great stride in ahead of the tournament.

“The girls have so far gelled. They now understand all the basics that I have taught them in training.

“We started off with build-ups on fitness which picked up very well.

“Their ball handling skills are now on another level. When you have good ball control, you can sway your opponents on whichever direction you want.

“Dealing with other technical things like movements will also be very easy,” he said.

Team captain Timinah Barasa has reiterated the coach’s sentiments saying they will strive to win two matches to make it to the podium.

“Our confidence has greatly improved since hitting the camp, thanks to the coach. I believe we are destined for gold in this tournament,” Barasa said.

“I believe we will do a good job and bring the medal home.  The coach has been training us well, and has equipped us with tactics that should destroy our opponents,” she said.

Kenya will also take part in men’s handball, athletics (men and women), basketball (men and women), football (women) and golf (men) in the tournament.