Sports

Deaflympians were mishandled: Cherargei

Friday, May 20th, 2022 07:03 | By
Nandi Senator Samson Cherengei addresses a media briefing at Parliament Buildings on the plight of athletes who were competing at Deaflympic Summer Games in Brazil. INSET: A section of athletes when they arrived at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. PHOTO/KENNA CLAUDE

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei has questioned how Team Kenya which took part at the just concluded Deaflympic Summer Games held in Caxias do Sul, Brazil was handled.

Cherargei said the reception that was accorded to the team at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and the rewards they received from the Ministry of Sports demeaned their outstanding performance at the global event in Brazil.

 He noted that during the international multi-sport event, Kenya not only surpassed the last edition held in Turkey, in 2017, but it was the best performance ever since the country first participated in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1997. 

“Despite their excellent performance, they were not accorded the dignity and honour befitting their effort.

The access to their hotels and vehicles to take them to their residence was horrible.

They had to hustle their way and this is not good for the heroes who have made us proud,” Cherargei told a press conference at Parliament buildings. 

Triumphant Deaflympics team

The senator who was speaking yesterday shortly after the triumphant Deaflympics team arrived in the country from Brazil, urged the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI), and the Auditor General to conduct a special audit on the training grants donated by various international partners to Athletics Kenya.

The team was hosted a breakfast by the Culture and Heritage Principal Secretary Josephta Mukobe who had accompanied them to Brazil. Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed and Principal Secretary Joe Okudo who were to grace the occasion never turned up.

While congratulating the team, PS Mukobe said the government will support persons with disability to be part and parcel of all sporting activities in the country. 

She said the country will capitalise on the gains made in Brazil while planning for even better subsequent editions. 

“I’m excited about the performance of Kenyans.

Going forward, we have taken the initiative upon ourselves to identify and develop this Deaflympics team so that they can come and play internationally with other people who are facing Deaf disabilities. But we also have a long-term plan to inject quality and substance,” the PS said. 

The team comprising of athletics stars led by overall captain Lucas Wandia and top Deaf golfer, bronze medalist Isaac Makokha bagged 24 medals (five gold, seven silver and 12 bronze) to top the African continent and placed 10th out of 78 countries that competed in the games. 

At JKIA, the team was received by Deputy Commissioner of Sports Jaxon Indakwa and National Olympic Committee of Kenya Secretary General Francis Mutuku. 

“We thank the government for the warm reception, our good performance in Brazil could not have been a success if it was not for the funds you approved. We hope that you will continue supporting us the same way,” Wandia said. 

The head of the delegation, Tom Okiki, was equally impressed with the reception, noting that it has never happened during other competitions. 

“We are proud to have achieved the 24 medals, it’s our best ever performance in the competition. The weather was unconducive, very cold and most of the days raining, but we managed to pull through. Thank you for the nice reception back home, it is a huge motivation,” Okiki said. 

Athletics head coach Samuel Kibet lauded his charges for delivering and surpassing their target of 20 medals, an improvement from the last edition where they got 16. 

“I appreciate the athletes for a job well done, I thank the government and officials for making this happen because this was the best organized Deaf Sports event. I encourage the government to continue supporting Deaf sports,” Kibet noted. 

Cherargei is further pushing the government to publicise contracts between the Ministry of Sports, Athletics Kenya, county sports ministries, Nike and other sponsors who funded the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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