Kenya started on a high at the inaugural Africa deaf Athletics Championship being staged in Moi International Sports Center Kasarani.
The competition was pushed to evening due to late arrival by some teams, among them Nigeria.
World junior 200m women deaf record holder Beryl Wamira gave Kenya her first gold medal while in men’s 10,000m the hosts swept the podium taking all the three medals in the competition.
24 year old Wamira ran a good race in the women’s 100m, which was the first event of the day, crossing the finish line first in 12:87 seconds.
She was followed by Nigeria’s Assurance Omoria, who finished in 13:21 seconds, while another Kenyan Ruth Awuor wrapped the podium finishers in 13:58 seconds.
Martin Gache won the 10,000m race in 31 minutes and 15 seconds ahead of Peter Toroitich and Amos Kiplagat .
More than 10 African nations are participating in the inaugural Africa Deaf Athletics Championships.
Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Libya, Mozambique, Mauritius, Nigeria, Uganda, Zanzibar and Kenya are some of the countries that are participating.
Speaking during official launch on Monday While flagging off the championship, Dr. Amina Mohammed, the Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and Heritage said Kenya’s full sponsorship of the event was proof of the country’s commitment to nurturing emerging sports talent.
Kirimi Kaberia, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage said “another crop of budding winners, both Kenyan and other nationalities, will emerge into the world stage of competitive athletics.”
Mr Kirimi said the event would raise awareness on sporting events for the deaf across the continent and raise Africa’s participation.
He said the championship would nudge African governments to recognize the existence of Confederation of Africa Deaf sports and Deaf Sports Federations in various countries and promote the sporting culture of Deaf people.
To date, 90 percent of affiliate member countries has never participated at the international events like world championship, regional competitions and Deaflympics.
This is despite the existence of the Confederation of Africa Deaf Sports, which is the home of sports for the Deaf in Africa with the mandate to operate, develop, organize and promote sports for the Deaf in Africa.
The federation which is an affiliate member of the International Committee of Sports of the Deaf (ICSD), the world’s governing body of sports of the deaf.
The Confederation of Africa Deaf sports has a total number of 30 affiliate member countries and 6000 sportsmen and women as according to a survey done in 2018.