The first batch of Team Kenya to the 24th Summer Deaflympics in Caxias do Sul, Brazil, departed today evening.
The contingent comprised of the national women’s Deaf football team of 15 players and 4 officials who jetted out with the 6pm Qatar Airways flight with the rest of 3 players and 7 officials scheduled to leave early Tuesday at 1am.
The contingent is led by the Deputy Chef de Mission Dokatu Wako.
The multi-sport event is set to be held May 1 to 15 with football getting the Summers Games underway April 30; Kenya will launch its campaign against Japan May 3.
Their second match will be against the host one day later. They will then clash with Poland and the US on May 7 and 9 respectively.
Other events will be staged in the neighbouring cities of Farroupilha and Flores da Cunha.
The national women’s Deaf football team under the tutelage of coach Ben Bela are gracing the global championships for the first time ever.
They will square it out with hosts Brazil, Poland, Japan and the United States in a round robin format.
Speaking at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport before the team departure, head coach Ben Bela and the team’s captain Emily Adhiambo called on Kenyans to support them during the Games.
Despite being underdogs, they have promised a good performance in Brazil.
“The team is about 80 percent ready. For the three weeks we have been in camp, the players have pushed themselves. The players we have remained with are good and I believe by the time we play our first match we will be ready to go,” said Bela.
“The government has facilitated a good number of days for us to acclimatize with the weather in Brazil. I believe a week is enough to be in good shape and tackle Japan in our first match on May 3…We are going to this tournament as underdogs but my team is well prepared and I believe we will compete and post a good results.”
Adhiambo said: ” We will be there (Brazil) for about one week before we start our matches, so I feel we will adapt well to the weather.”
“The coach selected the strongest team and we have also been training hard in camp so we expect to play well against our opponents. I have been encouraging the team to focus only on wins…We expect to win gold, silver or a bronze medal,” added the Flamingo Deaf Women’s football club midfielder.
Since the matches are being played in a round robin format, the coach Bella’s charges only need to register two victories to be in the medal bracket.
Athletics (men and women), basketball (men and women), handball (men and women) and golf (men) are the other Kenyan teams expected to travel in the course of this week for the Games.