Kenya finished top in Africa and 11th globally, in the just concluded 24th Summer Deaflympics that took place in Caxios Do Sul, Brazil.
Managing to bring home 24 medals- five gold, seven silver and 12 bronze, the government says its biggest takeaway from the 24th Summer Deaflympics is the need to diversify in sports.
Kenya secured 22 medals from its known powerhouse the track events, with
Kenya’s top deaf golfer Isaac Makokha and Kelvin Kipkogei stealing the show for the country when they won bronze in men’s golf and javelin respectively.
“The big lesson we have learnt is that as a country, we should diversify into other sporting activities. Basketball, swimming, javelin among others sports so that we do not just concentrate on athletics alone. If we were to perform well in those other sporting events, then we would scoop all the medals in the world,” said Josephta Mukobe, the Heritage Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage.
Both Makokha and Kipkogei made history by being the first Kenyan deaf athletes to ever win medals in the disciplines at the Deaflympics.
Makokha, who was making his second appearance in the Games, beat German Guldan Nico by two ups in the third and fourth place play-off.
Kipkogei on the other hand making his debut, won bronze thanks to his best throw of 51.30m.
In ball games, women’s deaf football, both men’s and women’s deaf basketball and both men’s and women’s deaf handball all struggled in the competition.
Only the women’s handball team reached the semi-finals, but lost 31-8 to defending champions Denmark.
Acknowledging that Persons with Disability are disadvantaged in various ways, principal Secretary, State Department for Culture and Heritage, Josephta Mukobe, assured the sports deaf federations of the government’s support in the course.
“…I am asking the leadership and federations of these sports to come out and build the capacities of their members. As a government if we are asked, we can always chip in so that these organizations are given the capacity that they require,” she said.
Ukraine won the 24th Summer Deaflympics tournament after a sterling performance, leading with 137 medals (61 gold, 38 silver and 38 bronze).
The Deaflympics is set to return in 2025, with Tokyo in Japan serving as the host city.