NAIROBI, Kenya, March 7 – The Special Olympics Kenya team has received Sh5 million sponsorship boost from Safaricom ahead of the Special Olympics World Games slated for March 14–21 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Kenya is part of the 128 countries globally that have confirmed participation in the event.
The team from Kenya will leave the country on Friday for the competitions that will see 11 teams play in various sports including football, beach volleyball, biking, swimming, open water swimming and athletics.
The team, which consists of 72 incredibly determined players, 20 couches, 5 Chaperons, HOD and assistant HOD, will be among the biggest delegation from Africa at the championships.
The sponsorship is the highest for the team and entails Kes 4 million in cash and Kes 1 million in kind.
“We are proud to be associated with this course that transform our communities and customers. We celebrate diversity and inclusivity in all aspects. To us inclusivity goes beyond just hiring people with disabilities, it is about giving them the same opportunities for career growth,” Sylvia Mulinge, Chief Customer Officer, Safaricom said.
“We have consistently supported deaf marathon in this country giving deaf athletes an opportunity to grow and earn from their passions and careers.”
Nicholas Korir Kipchumba- gold medalist in the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games –Austria and Onesmus Munyao Mutinda- gold medalist in the 2015 Los Angeles Special Olympics games will be the headlining acts for Kenya in this year’s games.
Other notable names that are set to grace the event include; Irene Nzilani – Team Gold Medal 2015, Female football Special Olympics World Summer Games Los Angeles and Laureen Dessy Aluoch Ochieng’- Team Bronze Medal Los Angeles Special Olympic.
“Preparations are complete, and we are ready to leave the country tomorrow. We are confident in the team we have selected, and we are optimistic that we will bring medals home,” Susan Masila, Special Olympics Kenya’s National Director said.
“Our endeavor is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competitions in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities giving them opportunities to participate in sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families. We are grateful to Safaricom for this valuable support.”
Special Olympics is a multi-sport event for athletes with intellectual disabilities in the tradition of the Special Olympics movement.
This will be the first time that the Special Olympics will be held in the Middle East / North Africa Region. Due to the region’s climate, the games will be held during the local late winter/early spring.