Pomp, colour as CS Amina opens Africa Deaflympics qualifiers
Pomp and colour marked the opening ceremony of the inaugural Africa Deaflympics Ball Games Qualifiers at Kasarani’s Moi International Sports Centre (MISC).
Delegations of athletes from 11 nations decked out in sporting attire representing their countries and marched triumphantly into the Stadium’s tartan track waving flags and palms in their traditional deaf culture.
A magnificently choreographed spectacle from the host country, Kenya also electrified the occasion to celebrate the country’s art and traditions.
But Kasarani fanfare and celebration happened in a virtually empty stadium in line with the Ministry of Health Covid-19 guidelines which restrict spectators from attending sporting events.
Monday’s Ceremony started off shortly after 5.30 with the Nubian Gold quartet of ladies who sang Swahili versions of both anthems of Kenya and East African Community.
Away from the sporting facet, the Games are being used to inspire and celebrate deaf sports personalities in Kenya and around the continent of Africa by creating an enabling environment to its best ball games’ athletes coming together.
The program for the Ceremony also featured acrobatic shows, tap dancing and drumming by Machakos Secondary School For the Deaf with a wonderful Kamba dance known as “Kilume”. The acrobats and drummers -most of whom were drawn from deaf fraternity- culminated their performances with a joint “Jerusalema Challenge”.
The occasion ended with a fireworks spectacle.
Sports CS Amb.Amina Mohamed welcomed all the visitors in Kenya and conveyed greetings from the President of the Republic of Kenya H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta.
“I would like to acknowledge the presence of participating countries at this Games which is a reflection of your support and passion towards the Deaf Games. I wish to also thank your governments for continuing to support this initiative in Africa to allow deaf people achieve their potential in elite sport,” Amb. Amina remarked.
Gordon Oluoch, Chairman of the LOC, extended gratitude to the respective governments of the participating teams for making it possible for the teams to travel to Kenya for the inaugural Games.
“As members of the LOC, with the support of the Ministry of Sports and the Government of Kenya, we have worked together tirelessly to ensure the success of the Games. I am convinced that this momentous occasion in Nairobi will form a strong bond among the deaf fraternity in the continent that will last for many years to come,”
Also in attendance were the CEO of International Community of Sports for the Deaf Rebrow Dmitry, Principal Secretary State Department of Sports Joe Okudo and Confederation of Africa Deaf Sports President Mohamed Modoun among others.
The countries present in Nairobi for the Games are Somaliland, Egypt, Libya, Senegal, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Mali, Ghana, Kenya and Zanzibar.
The Games kicked off on Saturday with the Kenya deaf football team losing 3-1 to Senegal in its opening Group A match.
On Sunday, Egypt’s football team walloped Somaliland 10-1. Both matches were played at Kasarani Stadium.
Egypt will lock horns with Gabon tomorrow from 9am onwards while Ghana and Libya will square off from midday. Mali and Senegal match will kick off at 3.30am. Nigeria will also play against Zambia tomorrow.
The Africa Ball Games Qaualifiers in Nairobi are being used as a yardstick to select qualifiers for the 2022 Summer Deaflympics in Brazil.