FAN VIEW

Disability is no inability in sports

A harvest of 24 medals shows that rich talent lies within deaf circles

In Summary

• It was encouraging to see the likes of Isaac Makokha come away with bronze in golf

• Suggestions by the deaf athletes will be crystallised into ideas and strategies

Members of the national Deaflympics team upon arrival from brazil
Members of the national Deaflympics team upon arrival from brazil
Image: HANDOUT

The Kenyan team to the 24th edition of the Deaflympic Games returned home last week after a successful excursion to Caxias do Sul in Brazil. 

A harvest of 24 medals indeed speaks volumes of the rich talent that lies within deaf circles and, to an overall level, abled-differently athletes. It was encouraging to see the likes of Isaac Makokha come away with bronze in golf in what was his second appearance at the Games. 

Unfortunately, it was heartbreaking to hear the cries from many of the sportsmen and women, who said they need more chances to showcase their abilities. 

The lack of regular opportunities to do what they do best has prevented them from growing their careers and competing with the crème de la crème of their respective disciplines. 

Some may have felt that their hearing counterparts in sports are given more prominence when preparing for international assignments compared to them. 

The tribulations of deaf sportspersons, as far as playing opportunities is concerned, mirrors what goes on in society. 

Many persons with disabilities attest to the dehumanisation they experience on a daily basis as they strive to make a living. They will testify to the many times they feel like children of a lesser God by virtue of the fact that chances to grow themselves are hard to come by.

Having made it to the grandest stage of them all and rubbed shoulders with the big boys and girls, many of the Deaflympics contingent are calling for consistency. 

There is a need to build on the foundations or lessons acquired from Brazil to excel at subsequent editions of the Deaflympics. 

What rings loud among these chorus of calls is the need for a structured league for disciplines, such as deaf football, basketball, hockey and handball. 

These lads need regular competition to remain physically active, gain exposure and enhance the playing standards of the country in general. 

Kenya prides itself as a sporting destination and it is important to realise that persons with disabilities play an integral role in enhancing this reputation. 

It is encouraging to hear stories from Brazil of certain players catching the eye of European coaches and teams who are interested in signing up these players. 

Such stories are evidence that disability is not inability as far as sports is concerned. Differently abled sportspersons are equally capable of putting Kenya on the map and flying our national flag high. 

Hopefully, the suggestions by the deaf athletes will be crystallised into ideas and strategies to grow sports for differently abled sportspersons. 

This would not only be a win for sports but also the quest for an equal society.