Kenya’s deaf athletes march to glory in first Africa event

By Judah Ben-Hur: Sunday, September 22nd 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Athletics
Participants of 1500 men category during the 1st Africa Deaf Athletics Championship Games at Kasarani Stadium yesterday. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Daniel Kiptum won the Half marathon gold medal in 1:09.14 hours yesterday despite being tripped and spending a couple of seconds on the tarmac as Kenya swept all podium places.

David Njeri finished behind Kiptum in 1:09.36 and Lucas Wanadai took the bronze in 1:11.55.

Kiptum’s victory sparked a gold rush for Kenya on the last day of Africa Deaf Athletics Championship at Kasarani, Nairobi.

In the men’s 1500m, John Koech launched through the track in the last 200m to scoop gold for Kenya in 4.06.55 minutes. His compatriot Omari Kokobi took silver in 4.07.00 minutes followed closely by Ethiopia’s Berhane Yemane who finished in 4.10.63 minutes. Denis Kiprop came in at fifth position behind Suba Hagos of Ethiopia.

Hannah Wanjiru wielded the bronze medal for Kenya in 5.03.71 minutes in the women’s 1500m race.

Rega Asaku of Ethiopia won gold in 4.35.24 followed by Uganda’s Nyakato Senifeer, who crossed the line in 4.35.88.

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The 4x100m relay was the highlight of the day as it pumped adrenaline, both on the track and the audience side. Kenya carried gold in 42.80 seconds ahead of Nigeria who settled for silver in 43.03 seconds. In third place was Mauritius finishing in 46.89 seconds.

Kenya bagged another gold in the 4x400m relay after completing the race in 3.24.53 minutes.

Nigeria finished second in 3.28.93 minutes ahead of Algeria, who finished in 3.35.02 minutes. The relay race had the spectators on their feet at the expansive Kasarani Stadium as the athletes served up spectacular entertainment.

According to Kenya’s head coach, Sammy Kibet, the results displayed both on the track and field were more than what was expected. “I thought we would get 30 medals and now we have more than 50. Players adopted our training and it worked well for them. We had no injuries and that boosted our performance,” said Kibet.

Kenya has yet again proved that no challenge or obstacle can topple her from her dominating athletics throne.  With 54 medals in total in the Africa Deaf Athletics Championship, Kenya secured first place with 20 gold, 16 silver, 18 bronze medals.

The championship was the first of its kind in Africa having kicked off from September 16 at Moi International Sports Center.

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