Special Olympics

It is more important to participate than to win; nothing embodies this Olympics slogan than the Special Olympics. The games are more about participants well being than winning or losing, writes Edna Kivuva

His innocent smile, long gaze in the air, a few incoherent words, immense energy in the field and intense concentration to the coach, will definitely attract your attention. Mr Ronak Sachania is among the special athlete's training in floor hockey and football in order to be selected to represent Kenya in the world winter Special Olympics in South Korea come January next year. 

His mother Ranjan Sachania, the vice chairperson in the committee for Down Syndrome society of Kenya, admits that whether a child is normal or special; parents will always face challenges raising them. However if the child is special like hers who has Down syndrome, their appreciation of the community depends on how a parent accepts them first.

“This games have made Ronak more confident, interactive with other children and he is always looking forward to Saturdays so that he can train with the other athletes”, she confirms.

The nineteen year old has down syndrome, but this does not deter him from realizing his dream of becoming an engineer. Ronak is pursuing a Diploma in electrical and electronics at SOS Children’s’ Villages Kenya College in Buruburu.

Overcoming Challenges

“I have been getting good reports from Ronak’s teachers, but the greatest challenge to him is that he cannot learn the theory part but can only do the vocational bit of the course. He has learnt a lot and can fix electrical appliances at home when they break down”, Ms Ranjan Sachania reminisces.

She admits that Parklands is far from Buruburu making transport expensive, thus she has to part with Ksh. 600 daily to hire a motorbike to take Ronak to college and fetch him in the evening. 

Ms Sachania who is the coordinator for parents support at the Kenya Special Olympics confesses that Ronak did not qualify to join the team going to the special world competitions. But she always ensures he comes for trainings every Saturday at the University of Nairobi grounds; “I hope next time he will be part of the next world competitions.” 

“We always take Ronak to the temple with us, because he loves music and dancing. We also go to the malls with him because we love him, he is our only child and everywhere we go people just love him” she says jovially. 

Future Plans

Ms Sachania plans to open up a shop dealing with electrical and electronic appliances in future where she hopes to incorporate her son. “I want him to be totally independent financially by the time he is thirty so that he can make his own decisions in life”, she asserts. 

Kenya Special Olympics Games Manager

The Games Manager at Kenya Special Olympics (KSO) Ms Susan Muinde encourages parents with children special needs to bring them for games. She affirms that when the parents get them to mingle with others it helps them to be social, calm and disciplined due to the rules in sports.

“It is so unfortunate that some people call people who are intellectually challenged; machizi, havuti waya, amefiatu, and worse in our local languages. Yet there is so much that people with special needs can achieve if supported”, she acknowledges.

Ms Sachania says that his son is very keen about everything he does, he is neat, and very independent. She notes that Ronak is currently going through a financial training so that he can know how to manage his money beside his Diploma course in electrical electronics. She can send him to the shop and be assured he will bring the correct change.

“I have realized that if you give Ronak a chance to learn, he is able to do it without any assistance and when you give him a gift, no matter how small he really appreciates. I call him my gift from God, whenever I go everyone wants to meet him because I am proud of him” she enthuses.  

Last year the Kenya team brought several medals from the World Summer Special Olympic Games in Greece. They were able to get 21 gold medals, 13 silver medals and 1 bronze medal which was a great triumph. 

Ms Muinde states that this year they have slotted the floor hockey games because most of the other games are in-door and they require ice like skating, skiing, among others which we do not have in Kenya.

“We have innovated local sticks and packs, which we have given to various clubs practicing floor hockey, we have challenges with the equipment and training grounds. But we are hoping as we near the winter games we will access an appropriate ground to train because we want to win gold”, Muinde hopes.  

Ms Muinde highlights that in October they will be pioneers in the first Africa Regional Special Games to compete for the unified cup to be held in South Africa. They have entered a unified football team for both those with and without intellectual disability, and they are expecting to win.

In September the Kenya Special Olympics team will be taking a swimming team to Puerto-Rico for an aquatic competition which is the only sport they will be participating in.

“We have health screening for our team to check whether our athletes are in good health because we realized that their health needs are at times neglected. We are going to have five screenings done by qualified doctors who are also trained by Kenya Special Olympics to cater for persons with special needs,” emphasized Ms Muinde.

It is more important to participate

The Special Olympics coach Mr Joshua Agare, articulates that for one to qualify to be a good athlete, discipline is required. He believes that everyone is a winner, the fact that one has made an attempt means they have tried and this to him is good enough.

“Our slogan is that we are winners and if we do not win at least we made an attempt”, Agare reiterates. Special Olympics does not focus on winning ribbons or medals. The fact that one has participated is enough to make one a hero. 

Mr Agare who is a former participant of the Special Olympic Games has won several medals; in 1995 he won two gold and one silver medals, while last year he won a silver medal in handball. 

Kenya Special Olympics started in 1978 and prides in being the oldest in Africa. The games started in the special schools that we have in the country. 

Menengai Cream Homeboyz and KCB secured home semifinal qualification at the close of the Kenya Cup’s league phase on Saturday 25 March 2017.

Kenya has improved tremendously in the past year posting positive results that has seen them rise in rankings into the top 90 in the World.

Serial satellite tour winner Matt Wallace will look to continue the habit tomorrow on the European Challenge Tour as he takes a one-shot lead into the final round of the Barclays Kenya Open after an impressive Moving Day at Muthaiga Golf Club.

The Englishman was four shots behind overnight leader Adrien Saddier but his four under par third round of 67 took him to 12 under par, with Saddier and Aaron Rai his closest rivals.

The 26 year old was unstoppable on the Alps Tour last year, winning on five successive appearances before sealing a dominant top spot in the Order of Merit by also triumphing at the Grand Final.

Top ten finishes on the Challenge Tour in Spain and Italy last season also suggested he was ready to compete at this level and he was understandably delighted with his day’s work in Nairobi as he goes in search of the biggest victory of his young career.

“I played really nicely today,” he said. “Not actually as well as the last two days, but I gave myself a lot of chances today and managed to get through a scruffy patch in the middle and finish nicely again.

“I birdied the last two holes and did the same yesterday – I had a really nice yardage into 17 and decided to really attack it and stuffed it in there really close and 18 is always a really good birdie chance.

“I really approached today the same as all week, I was obviously four shots behind Adrien so I was trying to shoot as low as I could and post a good score, but I didn’t think I’d be leading – I’m there though and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

“I’m hoping to learn from this experience because this is definitely the biggest crowd I’ve played in front of, especially the last few holes there, with a lot of people coming down. They really appreciate the good shots so hopefully I can give them something to cheer again tomorrow.

“I’ve got a local caddie on the bag this week who’s been doing the job here for 26 years – as long as I’ve been living! I talk to him a lot because I find if I go quiet I lose confidence.

“He’s been very good so far because obviously he knows the course very, very well – there’s been a few club decisions where I’ve gone ‘really?’ and it’s turned out perfect, so he knows his stuff and he knows my game well, given we’ve only been together for three or four days.

“Last year’s success was massive for me. I try to dumb it down as much as possible and say it’s just golf, and it is, but hopefully I can take the performances from last year into tomorrow.

“Jordan Smith showed last year how possible it is to move quickly to the top of the Challenge Tour from the satellite tours. I play with guys on the European Tour, Callum Shinkwin in particular, a lot and I think if I can compete with him, I know I can do it out here too.”

Three bogeys on the front nine cost France’s Saddier his lead while Englishman Rai birdied three of his final four holes for a round of 69 and a share of second place.

Welshman Rhys Davies, four times a winner on the Challenge Tour, momentarily topped the leaderboard before a scrappy back nine left him one shot further back on ten under par.

Also well within striking distance going into the final day are South Africans Jaco Ahlers and Louis De Jager and Sweden’s Jens Dantorp, all of whom share fifth place on nine under par, just three behind Wallace.

Source -- European Tour

Lots of matches for World Cup qualifiers today. We have some betting tips for you

The Hockey and Rugby teams of Upper Hill School have registered positive results as this year's Nairobi region Term One A School games got underway at State House Girls and Nairobi School.

Upper Hill won 2-0 against Nairobi School in boys' Hockey and humiliated Jamhuri School 31-0 in Boys' Rugby.

But while Nairobi school salvaged their day beating Aquinas 38-0 in Rugby, Jamhuri's bad day continued suffering yet another humiliating 34-3 defeat against Muhuri Muvhiri  in Boys' Rugby.

In Other results Parklands Arya won 2-0 against Hillcrest in Girls Hockey and proceeded to 3-0 against Kianda while still in boys' Hockey, Starehe won 2-1 against Makongeni.

The games will continue on Sunday the 26th with the regional winners proceeding to the finals to be played in April. 

National Hockey Champions Friends School Kamusinga from Bungoma County were eliminated from this year's competition after a 1-0 loss to Kakamega County's Musingu High School in the finals of the Western region Term one A school Games. Musingu will now represent the region at the Nationals to be played in April.

In basketball Boys finals, Busia County's Sigalame High School white washed Vihiga's Chavakali 107-34 to seal to book a ticket for the finals. The games were played at St. Peters High School in Mumias. 

The Western Region will be represented at the finals by the following schools;


Musingu High School - Boys 

Misikhu High School - Girls 


Sigalame High School - Boys

Tigoi High School - Gils 


Good news for the Blues! Eden Hazard is reportedly set to return to training next week as he continues his recovery from a calf injury.

Liverpool will welcome back Steven Gerrard this Saturday as the adored son of the Kop makes a return to his boyhood Club.

Manchester City and England goalkeeper Joe Hart has spoken about his life at Italian side Torino and where he wants to be next.

Aussie gun Daniel Ricciardo has crashed out during qualifying for the Melbourne Grand Prix.

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel beat his own lap record at Albert Park as he topped the time-sheet in the final free practice before the Australian Grand Prix qualifying on Saturday.

The four-times champion Germans lap of one minute 23.380 seconds eclipsed his pole record of 1:23.529 set at the lakeside circuit in 2011, and was nearly half a second faster than both the Mercedes cars.

New Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, who replaced retired champion Nico Rosberg, was second fastest, just edging three-times champion teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Ferraris Kimi Raikkonen was fourth, with Nico Hulkenberg fifth in his Renault.

Red Bulls Daniel Ricciardo was sixth fastest, with his teammate Max Verstappen 12th.

Williams rookie driver Lance Stroll skidded into a barrier and blew a tyre, causing the red flag to be raised with 10 minutes left in the session.

The session was then called off, leaving constructors champions Mercedes unable to improve upon their times and adding spice to the qualifying session later on Saturday.

Hamilton was fastest in both practice sessions on Friday.

Ireland and Everton defender Seamus Coleman faces up to a year on the sidelines after breaking his leg during a World Cup qualifier against Wales.

The ever-present risk of serious leg injuries in football was unfortunately realised once again as Wales’ Neil Taylor was shown a red card for a poor tackle during the 0-0 draw.

Once he realised what had happened, Coleman held onto his damaged leg while waiting for help.

Coleman was given oxygen on the field as medical staff attempted to immobilise his leg before taking to and ambulance and then hospital.

The final score took a back seat to Coleman’s well-being  after the match.

“It’s a bad break. Seamus is a fantastic player and character - it’s a major blow for the lad, for his club and for us,’’ Ireland manager Martin O’Neill told the UK’s Sky Sports.

“Apparently it wasn’t the best challenge in the world - I haven’t seen it back - but naturally disappointed. He’s gone to hospital and I think it’s broken.

“I saw Seamus’ reaction - he was holding his leg up and it didn’t look good.”

The length of Taylor’s suspension is yet to the decided but one this is for sure – Coleman is facing a lengthy stint of rehab before his professional career resumes.

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France’s national railway company, SNCF, and professional and financial services group Deloitte have signed up as official supporters of France’s bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023.

SNCF will advise the French Rugby Federation (FFR) on transport and sustainable mobility options, and support the implementation of a ticketing strategy for the World Cup.

The company will also provide logistical support to the FFR during different stages of the application process while promoting the bid both nationally and internationally.

Deloitte’s French division will work with the FFR on drafting budgets and financing plans for the event.

FFR president Bernard Laporte said: “(We are) very pleased to be able to count on the expertise of these two companies with world-renowned know-how to help us in our application. This support again illustrates the strong mobilisation of the economic world behind #France2023.”

France faces competition from Ireland and South Africa in its bid to stage the 2023 World Cup. The World Rugby Council will select the winning bid on November 15.