The first edition of the National Youth Deaf Athletics Championships is set to be held at Kasarani Stadium, on Thursday and Friday this week.
Title sponsor Safaricom has committed KES 2.5m towards the two-day event. The Deaf Athletics Association of Kenya (DAAK) will use the event to select the team that will represent Kenya at the 1st Summer Deaflympic Youth Games to be held in Armenia in June 2019.
“We have put in place all the necessary measures to ensure the event is a success. It is all about giving deaf athletes the same opportunities for career growth as everyone else. We expect to select a strong team of 25 young talented deaf athletes that will help us cement our position as the best in the world,” said Benard Banja, Secretary General of DAAK.
The championship will feature track and field activities, including high jump, pole vault, long and triple jump, shot put, hammer, javelin and discus. Other events will include the 4×100 relay, 4X400 relay, 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1,500m and 10,000m races.
“We are excited to be partnering with DAAK for the first ever Youth Deaf Athletics Championship. This is an amazing opportunity as it gives a platform to upcoming deaf athletes to showcase their talent and a chance to be selected for an international event”, said Sylvia Mulinge, Chief Customer Officer, Safaricom
Crowd favourite Beryl Atieno Wamira who currently holds the women’s world youth record in the 100m and 200m events and was a silver medalist at the 2013 Summer Deaflympics together with other upcoming athletes are expected to compete for the coveted spots.
Kenya collected 17 medals (6 Gold, 5 Silver and 6 Bronze) in the 2013 Deaflympic Games held in Bulgaria to emerge top in Africa and eighth out of 72 countries that participated in the event.
At the 2017 Deaflympic Games in Turkey, Kenya won 16 medals including 5 gold and was the only African team in the top 10. The team also broke 3 world records in the 1,500m, 3000m Steeplechase and 10,000m men’s races.