Kenya Deaflympics team tops Africa despite marathon heartbreak
Web Editor:國際日報 International Daily News
NAIROBI, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Kenya topped the African medal charts at the recently concluded 2022 Summer Deaflympics at Caxias Do Sul in Brazil, a government official said on Tuesday.
Principal Secretary in the State Department for Culture and Heritage, Josephta Mukobe, said in a statement that the delegation won five gold, seven silver and 12 bronze medals to finish top of the continent and 10th overall, an improvement from the 5-5-6 they had won at the previous 2017 Summer Deaflympics in Turkey.
Algeria was second in the continental rankings with five medals at the Games that concluded on Sunday, where Ukraine topped the overall standings with a medal tally of 61-38-38.
"I'm going to ask the National Heroes Council to welcome you well as true heroes," she said.
Kenya could have scooped more medals in the men and women's marathon on the last day of the games on Sunday but the athletes were disqualified for lateness.
The country's five marathoners (three men and two women) arrived at the starting point a few minutes to the call time deadline and were barred from competing despite reportedly informing the Race Director of their predicament.
"This is a competition where we don't miss a medal; we wanted to sweep all the medals. We failed to take part due to a technical hitch and miscommunication. We arrived at the venue just before the race started but we were told that we cannot take part," the disappointed athletics coach Samuel Kibet lamented before the team started their journey back home.
Having won a bronze medal in the women's 10,000m final, Grace Kandagor, who was eying another podium finish in the marathon, was heartbroken at the turn of events.
"I feel discouraged because I didn't take part. I was ready for the marathon after racing in the 5,000m and 10,000m," she said through a sign-language interpreter.