Kenya: Gallant Team Kenya Deaflympics Accorded Heroic Reception

Nairobi — A welcome like no other was accorded to Team Kenya for the 24th Summer Deaflympics when the first batch made a triumphant return to the country on a chilly Thursday morning after recording its best performance ever.

The team comprising of athletics stars led by overall captain Lucas Wandia and top Deaf golfer, bronze medalist Isaac Makokha, jetted into the country from Caxias do Sul, Brazil where Kenya bagged 24 medals (5 Gold, 7 Silver and 12 Bronze) to top the African continent.

Besides family and friends awaiting them who burst to song and dance as is custom when they emerged, the team was pleasantly welcomed by government officials led by Deputy Commissioner of Sports Jaxon Indakwa and National Olympic Committee of Kenya Secretary General Francis Mutuku.

As is tradition with their hearing counterparts, they were adorned with fresh wreaths from the Sinendet tree reserved for conquerors and a swig of the fermented Mursik milk from a gourd to kick-start the ceremony.

The team was taken to PrideInn Azure Hotel where they will spend the night ahead of Thursday’s celebration breakfast hosted by Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Arts and Culture, Amb. Amina Mohamed and Principal Secretary Joe Okudo.

“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,” Team Captain Wandia said upon arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Head of 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, its our best ever performance in the competition. The weather was uncondusive, 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,” A jolly 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, who has been with the team for a long period said.

He added, “Our preparation was good, from training camp to the competition in Brazil, the team has potential to even do better next time because they are now motivated by the kind of reception they have been given.”

Secretary Administration, State Department of Sports, Josephine Onunga, who was with the team in Brazil heaped praises to the contingent, outlining that they represented the country well in all aspects.

“It was a fantastic experience and we did not let Kenyans down, we were the first in Africa and 11th in the world out of 78 countries. We have done Kenya and Africa proud,” Onunga remarked.

“We thank the CS and PS for Sports, Arts and Culture who ensured that the team was well facilitated and that is what led to a remarkable Deaflympics. We are grateful to President Uhuru Kenyatta who motivated the team. Athletes were disciplined and it is a great excitement coming home with medals,” Onunga said.

National Olympic Committee of Kenya Secretary General Francis Mutuku congratulated the Deaflympics team, noting that they have set the bar high ahead of the upcoming events like the Commonwealth Games set for Birmingham in late July.

“We are extremely proud of Team Kenya Deaflympics. Your good performance has opened the avenue for the major events to come. We welcome you back as heroes, we are proud of you,” Mutuku said.

Before departure from Caxias do Sul, the team was hosted to a red-carpet dinner by the Local Organizing Committee.

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