Deaf Athletics: Kenya Tops Africa

Kenyan athletes celebrate their victories at the championship. PHOTO/COURTESY

NAIROBI, Kenya- Once again, Kenya has topped the standings with 67 medals (23 gold, 21 silver, and 23 bronze) at the just concluded Second Africa Deaf Athletics Championships held at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi.

This is a great improvement from the 54 medals (20 gold, 16 silver, and 18 bronze) realized in the inaugural edition in 2019 before the continental showpiece was halted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Libya finished the epic battle at Kasarani in second place having amassed seven medals including three gold, two silver, and two bronze.

Algeria completed the team podium with six medals (a gold, four silvers, and a bronze).

Three records were broken at the championships, two by Kenyans and a Libyan.

Deaflympian Kelvin Kipkogei hurled 56.50m to break the javelin continental record that stood at 52.36m and was held by compatriot Ben Kiptarus.

Kipkogei also won men’s long jump gold at the competition to prove his mettle as a multipurpose athlete.

“This is the first record I’m holding in my career; I’m now looking for bigger ones like the Deaflympics and the World Championships,” said Kipkogei who hails from Kapsabet.

Ruth Chemurgor, also from Kapsabet, was another record smasher at the tournament.

She fired 21.71m to break her own African and Championships hammer records, set in 2019, which stood at 20.60m.

Chemurgor also had a 20m launch that bagged her gold in women’s discuss.

Only hammer record was broken in the men’s category, this went to Mohamed Mifta of Libya who cast 29.39m to win gold.

The tournament also had a scintillating battle of the siblings as all the Wamira’s returned to their Bondo home with golds.

Beryl Wamira, who co-captains the Kenya team with Lucas Wandia, successfully defended her 100m and 200m titles which she also holds their continental and Championships records.

Beryl is ranked third worldwide in both categories.

“Guarding the titles was not a walk in the park, I was able to successfully do this through elaborate and dedicated training,” Beryl told Standard Sports.

Her sister Rael who has never been so successful with sprints finally got her groove when she sprung to 4.93m to strike gold in the women’s long jump, missing the African Record by three inches.

Kenyan athletes celebrate their victories at the championship. PHOTO/COURTESY

“I’m so happy for my sister, she finally did it,” elated Beryl said.

Beryl’s brother David also rose to the occasion to successfully defend the men’s 200m title which he is also the continental record holder.

Earlier on, David denied Walter Kalebu a chance to defend the men’s 100m title, relegating the latter to second place.

“Men’s 200m is always my favorite toy, I was so sure of defending it, but adding 100m title in my cabinet was such a cherished moment,” David underlined.

Grancy Kandagor from Kaptagat proved she is the queen of long-distance races as she nestled both the women’s 5000m and 10000m medals in her purse.

“I’m happy with the golds, next focus is the World Championships and the Deaflympics where I’m focused on breaking the records,” soft-spoken Kandagor stated.

After struggling with football for all the years, Monica Natui finally got her niche in the shot put.

Natui flung 8.37m to win women’s shot-put gold which sent her into a frenzy.

The lady from Turkana North said after the sweet victory: ” I’m so happy, Ruth (Chemurgor) has been beating me to the gold by a whisker but this time round I said enough is enough, I didn’t give her space to breathe in this one, I’m glad the determination and the focus paid off.”

Natui also won silver in both women’s discuss and hammer.

Confederation of Africa Deaf Sports (CADs) Vice President Miriam Opondo was happy with the organization of the championships even though a few countries failed to turn up due to various logistics.

“We hope the number of participating nations will swell in the future editions,” Opondo stated.


Second Africa Deaf Athletics Championships medals standings

1. Kenya 67 (23 gold, 21 silver, 23 bronze

2. Libya 7 (3 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze)

3. Algeria 6 (1 gold, 4 silver, 1 bronze)

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