Handball: Special Olympics trials force postponement of league matches

Nairobi Water v NCPB

Merina Andala (left) of Nairobi Water charges between National Cereals and Produce Board's Sarah Mabonga (left) and Rehema Asiko during their Kenya Handball Federation National League match at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on July 23,2022.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Special Olympics brings together players living with intellectual disabilities and other handball players
  • The two-day event will be staged at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi and will bring together three counties namely Makueni, Mombasa and Nairobi
  • After the completion of the event, a provisional squad of 12 players (seven with disability, five partners) will be named to begin preparations for next year's bonanza set for June 17-25

Kenya Handball Federation (KHF) has shelved league matches this weekend, to pave way for the selection of Special Olympic Kenya team to next year's Special Olympics World Games in Berlin, Germany.

The matches will instead be played on Monday. Special Olympics brings together players living with intellectual disabilities and other handball players.

The two-day event will be staged at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi and will bring together three counties namely Makueni, Mombasa and Nairobi.

The other remaining 44 counties failed to conduct trials in time for selection due to coronavirus restrictions. Special Olympic Kenya Sports Manager Vincent Mungai termed the development as unfortunate.

After the completion of the event, a provisional squad of 12 players (seven with disability, five partners) will be named to begin preparations for next year's bonanza set for June 17-25.

KHF Fixture Secretary Charles Omondi said the development was to offer help to the Special Olympics of Kenya to have a smooth and successful process.

"We have pushed our league matches to Monday which is also timely because it's a holiday. The Special Olympics of Kenya has sought our help as far as officiating is concerned and we are ready to help and guide them. Besides, we also want to ensure they select a competitive team for the Games," said Omondi.

Meanwhile, New Hope will draw inspiration from their counterparts Young City when they battle Rising Stars on Monday in the women's league.

New Hope, which is a team made up of players with hearing impairment, remain winless from eight matches.

Young City won their first match of the season thanks to a 34-27 win against University of Eldoret Pippers and  New Hope coach Peter Mwathi said there is light at the end of the tunnel.

"Our scores have been improving with each game and I believe we will record a win soon. The consolation we have is that players have also grown and the exposure has been amazing," said Mwathi.

In other matches, Amazon will battle Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology while Rising Star have a date with Daystar University in their second match of the day.

In the men's fixtures, Spartans will host Thika while National City County Government take on Desert Scorpions as Kenyatta University face off with Inspired.

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