The Kenya volleyball team won in the division round match, 20, against, Tanzania, 16, in an electrifying match during the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin, Germany on Sunday.
The team of 10, led by Captain Beverly Cheptoo beat the team from the East Africa region raising their stakes in the games and a chance to win gold in the continuing games that shall climax on June 25, 2023.
“Our team comprises players from Nandi County, and brings together those who have intellectual disabilities, and others who do not whom we call partners. It is a great opportunity to play in Berlin and represent Kenya. I hope we win Gold,” said Captain Cheptoo.
The team’s Coach, Eston Rono encouraged the team on the sidelines of the match as served, spiked, and attacked their opponents. Coach Rono was excited that the team had emerged as among the best in Kenya to represent the country in the world games.
“We have been practicing, and here we are. I wish the girls the best, and hopefully, we take the Gold medal for volleyball home,” said Coach Rono.
At the beginning of the match, Tanzania was leading with 2 points lead, Kenya 10 and Tanzania 12.
However, as the match neared the closing minutes, Kenya was bounced back in the game and attacked the leading Tanzania to win the game with a four points lead.
The Kenya team will continue to play in the games that integrate people with disabilities, and those without, called ‘partners’.
Kenya is represented in the games by 66 participants in different games that include badminton, beach volleyball, volleyball, and handball among others.
The World Games seek for the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in the everyday activities of other people, including sports.
Patron of the Special Olympics Kenya team, spouse of the Deputy President Pastor Dorcas Rigathi hoped that soon the world would fully accept those with intellectual disabilities and include them in the Olympics.
“We can have just Olympics, and not Special Olympics, which although is a powerful platform of inclusion, segregates those with intellectual disabilities,” said Pastor Dorcas.
Chairman of the Special Olympics Kenya, Thuo Cege said it was a great honour for Kenyans to take part in the world games and in 11 sports.
“I have no doubt that the team will do well. We look forward to win several gold medals, and other prizes. The PWDs are not disabled, but differently abled, and these games will be a testimony of what they can achieve,” said Mr Chege.
The office of the spouse of the Deputy President (OSDP) has the vision of ‘A Dignified Future for Vulnerable Populations’ that includes persons with disabilities (PWDs), the boy child, and widows and orphans.
Pastor Dorcas is in Berlin in a show of solidarity with people with intellectual disabilities. On Saturday, 17th June, 2023, she walked the Kenyan team during the colourful grand opening ceremony into the Olympic Stadium.
She advocates for the empowerment of PWDs through sports, education and other co-curricular activities.