The Kenya Para Volleyball Federation (KPVF) national trials that ended on Saturday in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, brought out many lessons for the country’s large sports landscape. The host county and Nairobi men’s and women’s teams were crowned champions after the three-day contest among 25 teams from 17 counties.
KPVF used the competition to name the national team to the First Africa Para Games on September 3-12 in Accra, Ghana. The men and women’s teams will have 12 players each.
The championships exhibited the raw talent that the country continues to produce across the sports disciplines. There is a need to embrace the inter-county sports competitions; hence, the focus should shift to the county level, where the national and county governments must develop sports infrastructure. That includes stadiums, swimming pools, golf courses and multi-sports gymnasiums.
County governments are allocated money for sports every year but it is channelled to non-sports projects. County governments and sports federations must now draft and implement sports talent development blueprints in their regions.
The trials in Eldoret also brought to the fore the challenges the para athletes go through, which should be addressed if the country is to perform well at the Paralympics.
Sadly, the Paris Olympics Games are due on August 28-September 8 next year but the Kenya National Paralympic Committee (KNPC) is still embroiled in leadership wrangles. Sports Dispute Tribunal (SDT) stopped the KNPC elections last October. The process is now scheduled for Thursday, depending on a related High Court ruling set for today.
Remember, wrangles saw Kenya fail to win a gold medal—for the first time since 1988 Seoul— at the 2020 Tokyo Games.