The government has promised to investigate an incident in which Kenyan marathoners at the 24th Deaflympics Games in Brazil were denied an opportunity to compete in a race, effectively compromising the country's chances of bagging more medals.
Principal Secretary State Department for Culture and Heritage in the Ministry of Sports and Heritage, Josephta Mukobe, said they will investigate the mishap which she said was caused by miscommunication.
Kenya could have won more medals at the 15-day championships but the five marathoners were locked out for arriving late on the last day of the event.
Kenya’s marathoners arrived at the starting point a few minutes past the call room time and were barred despite informing the race director of their predicament which was caused by a communication barrier and traffic jam in the Southern City of Brazil.
“As the management, we are going to look at what happened. We were definitely going to add to our medal tally,” Mukobe said.
She added: “We should not let what happened today dampen our spirits. It is bad but it should not dampen our morale. We are number 10 in the world and number one in Africa,” she added.
Mukobe said Kenya should diversify into other sporting activities including basketball, swimming and javelin among others so that we do not just concentrate on athletics alone. If we were to perform well in those other sporting events, then we would win all the medals in the world,” she said.
Coach Simeon Kibet said they arrived just before the race started. “We never fail to win medals in marathon and we were keen to sweep the board. We failed to take part due to a technical hitch. We arrived at the venue just before the race started but we were told that we cannot take part,” said a disappointed Kibet.
One of the marathoners Grancy Kendagor said she felt disappointed, having prepared well for the race. “I was ready for the race despite taking part in 5, 000m and 10, 000m,” she said.
However, another marathoner Peter Toroitich who won a silver in 10, 000m said they arrived at the starting point, and changed but were told not to take part. “I will let it go and stay calm. There is always next time.”
Kenya was the top-ranked country in Africa with a total of 24 medals (5 gold, 7 silver, and 12 bronze) medals, surpassing the 16 medals won during the last competition in Samsun, Turkey. This was the most successful event for Kenya in the history of the Deaflympics.
Algeria was the second-ranked country in Africa with a paltry five medals. Ukraine topped the medal standings with 137 medals (61 gold 38 silver 38 gold) while the US was second with 55 medals (20 gold, 11 silver, and 24 bronze).
Kenya won 23 gold medals in her stronghold of athletics and one in golf which was won by the country’s top golfer Isaac Makokha.
Team Kenya medallists
Men's Steeplechase-Lucas Wandia Wanjiru.
Men's 10000m-Simon Cherono Kibai.
Men's 5000m-Simon Cherono Kibai.
Men's 1500m- Ian Wambui Kahinga.
Men's 800m- Elikana Kiprop Rono
Mix 4X400 Relay (George Waweru Muthee, Linet Fwamba Nanjala, Beryl Atieno Wamira, and Isaac Atima Tongi).
Men's 10000m- Peter Toroitich.
Women's 10000m-Serah Wangari Kimani.
Women's 1500m- Sharon Jeptarus Bitok.
Men's 5000m- Ian Wambui Kahinga.
Women's 800- Sharon Jeptarus Bitok.
Women 4x400 Relay (Beryl Atieno Wamira, Linet Fwamba Nanjala, Pamela Atieno Atieno, Sharon Bitok Jeptarus)
Men's 10000m- David Kipkogei.
Women's 10000m- Grancy Kendagor.
Men's Javelin- Kelvin Kipkogei.
Women's 400m - Linet Fwamba Nanjala.
Men's Golf- Isaac Ogolla Makokha.
Men's Steeplechase- Peter Omari Kokobi.
Women's Steeplechase- Ann Njoki Wangeci.
Women's 200m- Beryl Atieno Wamira.
Women's 4x100m Relay (Beryl Atieno Wamira, Rael Achieng Wamira, Anzazi Chaka Nyundo and Linet Fwamba Nanjala).
Women's 800m -Rebecca Matiko.
Women's 5000m -Grancy Kendagor.
Men's 4x400m Relay (Simon Menza Gona, Charles Muthama Mwema, George Waweru Muthee, Isaac Atima Tong’i).