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Kipkogei strikes gold in men's long jump as Kenya rule men's 400m

Athletics
 Kenya's Kelvin Kipkogei celebrates after winning gold in long jump during the Africa Deaf Athletics Championship at Kasarani Stadium on Monday. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

After lifting gold in the men's long jump on Monday night, Deaflympian Kelvin Kipkogei is now focused on striking another glittering medal in men's javelin tomorrow at the ongoing second edition of Africa Deaf Athletics Championships in Kasarani, Nairobi.

Kipkogei had an impressive score of 6.16m to floor a rich field from across the continent in the long jump.

Mohamed Naceur (5.72m) from Algeria clinched silver as Nichola Ngeno settled for bronze in 5.37m.

"I feel great being the new African King. Long jump has been my favourite sport from Primary to High School," Kipkogei told Standard Sports.

The victory now inspires Kipkogei, who was making his debut in the continental event, to dream of breaking the world record in the discipline at the world championships in Japan next year.

Kipkogei says his secret in the game is training with other hearing athletes at his base in Kapsabet and at the Karen School for the Deaf in Nairobi.

His focus now is to win gold in men's javelin where he will put his life on the line on Thursday.

Last year, Kipkogei won bronze for Kenya in Javelin at the 24th Summer Deaflympics Games held in Caxias Do Sul in Brazil where Team Kenya amassed a record 24 medals (5 gold, 7 silver, 12 bronze) to top Africa.

At the same time, Kenya made a clean sweep in men's 400m at the ongoing championships in Kasarani. 

Isaac Atima clocked 49.59 to clinch gold as George Waweru (51.65) and Edwin Terer (52.49) breezed to the tape in that order to win silver and bronze.

"I'm happy to have won the race, I'm surprised with the victory even though I really worked for it," said Atima who finished third in the first edition of the event in 2019.

Atima attributed their podium sweep to the good preparations they had in the camp for two weeks ahead of the continental showpiece.

"I believe this great result is going to open more doors for me in 2024," stated Atima.By virtue of clinching gold, Atima has technically qualified for the world championships that is slated for Japan in June 2024.

Apart from guarding the team title at the ongoing championships, the country is also defending the 10000m, 200m, 3000m steeplechase and the marathon titles at the competition that will end on Friday.

Kenya has entered over 61 athletes in the event being contested by eight countries from across Africa.

Other nations looking for glory are Ghana, Ivory Coast, Algeria, Morocco, Gabon, Cameroon, Mali and Zanzibar."Twenty countries confirmed their participation but due to logistics, some could not make it."Some were put down by finances while others had travelling drawbacks," Confederation of Africa Deaf Sports (CADs) Vice President Miriam Opondo said.

The Kenya athletics team entered camp two weeks ago and was upping training at various venues including the Nyayo Stadium, Uhuru Gardens and the Ngong Hills.

Opondo believes the adequate preparations that Kenya had will increase the country's medal tally, especially gold, in the championships.

"Kenya prepared well, this time round we are even confident to reap medals in the 100m," Opondo underlined.

Opondo has thanked the State for coming on board to support the continental showpiece which is also acting as a qualifier for the World Deaf Championships to be staged in June 2024 in Japan.

The Kasarani tournament was preceded by a high profile two-day seminar in Nairobi which was graced by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) President Adam Kosa and CADs President Mohammed Madoun.

The attending delegates were taken through lessons in anti-doping, sports technology,  ethics and sportsmanship apart from holding continental elections where Opondo who previously held the Secretary General's post clinched the Africa's Vice Presidency.

Kenya hosted the inaugural edition of the continental athletics showpiece in Nairobi in 2019 where 12 countries took part as Kenya bagged a total of 54 medals.

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