NAIROBI, Kenya, May 22 – This year’s National Deaf Athletics Championships will be hosted at the Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County on May 23 and 24.
Title sponsor Safaricom has committed Sh2.5m towards the two-day event, which the Deaf Athletics Association of Kenya (DAAK) will use to select the team that will represent Kenya at the 2017 Deaflympics Games taking place in Turkey from July 18 to 30.
The trials will feature track and field activities including high jump, pole vault, long and triple jump, hammer, javelin and discus. Other events will include the 4×100 relay, 4X400 relay, 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1,500m and 5,000m races.
“We have a great number of talented deaf athletes, but because we can’t take them all to Turkey we plan to use this event to select the best among them. We expect to select a very strong team of 35 young men and women that will help us cement our position as the best in Africa and among the top in the world, so we’re looking forward to a formidable showing by the athletes,” DAAK Secretary General Bernard Banja said.
During the 2013 Deaflympic Games held in Sofia, Bulgaria, Team Kenya collected 17 medals (6 Gold, 5 Silver and 6 Bronze) to emerge top in Africa and eighth out of 72 countries that participated in the event.
Crowd favourites including Simon Kibai, Beryl Atieno and Daniel Kiptum are expected to defend their titles and earn slots in this year’s team, with a few relatively new names such as Rebecca Matiko, Timina Barasa and David Wamira and also expected to compete for the coveted spots.
This will be the second event in the 2017 Safaricom Athletics Series, which was launched earlier this week and will be sponsored by the telecommunications firm at a cost of Sh65m.
“Our sponsorship of the National Deaf Athletics Championships has opened our eyes to the opportunities present to support our deaf athletes, who have emerged as a force to be reckoned with both at home and abroad,” said Steve Okeyo, Director for Regional Sales and Operations – Safaricom.
“We are pleased to see that our vision of transforming lives through sports is coming alive through the athletes, with the likes of 5,000m world record holder Simon Kibai proving that there are opportunities for other young athletes to excel and build careers out of their athletic talents,” added Okeyo.