The first edition of the National Youth Deaf Athletics Championships will be held at the Kasarani Stadium, on Thursday and Friday this week.
Safaricom, the title sponsor has committed Kshs2.5m 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 first Summer Deaflympic Youth Games to be held in Armenia in June 2019.
“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.
He added that they 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,” he said.
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 other upcoming athletes are expected to compete for the coveted spots.
Wamira was a silver medallist at the 2013 Summer Deaflympics held in Bulgaria.
Kenya collected 17 medals (6 Gold, 5 Silver and 6 Bronze) at the event 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.
Kenya 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.
Previously called the World Games for the Deaf, and International Games for the Deaf, the Deaflympics is an International Olympic Committee (IOC)-sanctioned event.
The deaf athletes compete at an elite level and unlike the athletes in other IOC-sanctioned events for the physically challenged like the Olympics, the Paralympics, and the Special Olympics, the Deaflympians cannot be guided by sounds.
Held every four years, the first games were held in Paris, France in 1924.
The games, which began when 148 athletes from nine European nations competed in the International Silent Games in the Paris event, were the first ever international sporting event for athletes with a disability.
Kenya is ranked 32nd in the all-time Summer Deaflympics from the 1924 Summer Deaflympics to the 2017 Summer Deaflympics.
The ranking is as a consequence of the sum of the medal tables of the various Summer Deaflympics editions.