Kenya’s Beryl Wamira won the first gold as the inaugural African deaflympics championships started at Kasarani Stadium yesterday.
Wamira, the world junior 200m record holder, produced a brilliant show as she won 100m race in an impressive 12.87 seconds ahead of Assurance Omoira (13.21) of Nigeria and Kenya’s Ruth Awuor, who settled for bronze in 13.58 seconds.
“I feel good. The race was hard but I did my best even though I wasn’t feeling well. My target is to break the 100m and 200m record at senior level,” said Wamira.
In 100m men heats, Kenya topped in the second and third heats after taking the second spot in the first heat.
John Koech won 800m semi final in 1:59.2 while Jennifer Nyakato of Uganda won the women’s race in 2.08.3 ahead of Ethiopia’s Asnaku Rega (2:10.7) and Asfaw Alem (2:22.9). Kenya’s Hannah Wakonyo came fourth and fifth respectively as false starts marked most of the day’s events.
In men’s 100m heat one, Kebabonye Letlaatlaa was off the mark before the starter but was not fouled as similar incidences were also witnessed in women’s 800m semi finals.
Jonas Kirui, the President of Deaf Athletics Association of Kenya, the challenge resulted from the implementation of new light technology which most deaflympians are not conversant with.
“Initially, we used to use a gun at the start but now we have employed the lights which turn from amber to white. Most of the athletes are not used to it but we are certain that they will get used to it,” said Kirui.