Kibai out to lead Kenya to World Deaf glory
As the World Deaf Athletics Championships draw near, all eyes will be on one man, multiple Deaflympics champion Simon Kibai.
The former farm hand born and raised in Nyahururu has defied all odds to become a household name in the world of disabled athletics.
Last Thursday, the lanky athlete with a devastating finishing kick proved his mettle at Safaricom Stadium in Kasarani when he motored around the track to complete a gun to finish victory in the 5000m men’s final.
Speaking through an interpreter Kibai talked of how struggled to make ends meet after finishing his secondary education at Rev Muhoro High School in Mukurwe-ini, Nyeri County.
“I was in poverty, I was at my village and I didn’t have any opportunity.”
He at one time worked as a farm hand in his native village before his got his breakthrough when he was called for National Deaf Athletics Trials in 2010.
“I used to cut trees and work in the shamba (farm) and Tom Okiki called me for trials. I started training and was lucky to make the team to Canada and won Silver in 2010”
Since then he has never looked back. At the World Deaf Athletics Championships in Canada in 2012 the rookie Kibai won silver behind celebrated deaf runner Buxton Menjo.
A year later in Bulgaria during the Deaflympics he set a new world record in 1500m and won two more gold medals in the 5000m and 10000m races.
He says that he is under no pressure to replicate the feat this year and his coach Daniel Maina adds that barring injury or any unforeseen calamity Kibai has the potential to better his previous achievements.
“I want to win a gold medal and help my teammates improve.”
The father of one and whose wife Miriam is an able bodied athlete says he has double expectations this year. He is expecting his second child and more gold medals.
“She is with me in Nyahururu and once she gives birth she will join me in athletics,” he added.
A team of 28 deaf athletes was selected to represent Kenya in the 3rd World Deaf Athletics championships that will be held in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria from 25th June to 3rd July 2016.
The team was selected after a two day’s national deaf championships trials held at the Safaricom Stadium Kasarani.
The squad is expected to start training next week in preparation for the championships, with travel dates scheduled for the week June 20 to Bulgaria.
The selected athletes include Beryl Wamira, Daniel Kiptum, Rebecca Matiko, Kibai, Baxtone Menjo and David Wamira among others.
The World Championships in Bulgaria are expected to help the deaf athletes to prepare adequately for 2017 Deaflympic Games in Turkey.
During the 22nd Summer Deaflympic Games in, Sofia Bulgaria held in August 2013, the Death athletics runners from Kenya won 17 medals (6 Gold, 5 Silver and 6 Bronze).
Kenya topped Africa and was ranked eighth globally out of 72 countries.
Report by John Githinji/Inooro
- Juster Kwamesa
- Mercy Peyai
- Ann Nasimiyu
- Baxtone Menjo
- Benson Otieno
- Beryl Otieno
- Daniel Kiptum
- David Wamira
- Evanson Ngure
- Faith Mukami
- Francis Rondi
- Jacob Kibet
- John Koech
- Kelvin Waithaka
- Kokobi Omari
- Linet Wanjala
- Lucas Wanjiru
- Muthama Muema
- Paul Simiyu
- Peter Toroitich
- Rael Achieng
- Rebecca Matiko
- Ruth Awuor
- Saulo Mwanthi
- Silvanus Oginga
- Simon Kibai
- Walter Malenje
- David Ogogo
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