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Disability category attracts best performers from last year’s activities

Ericcson Kiprono @PeopleSports11

Peter Munuhe from Wheelchair tennis, handballer Dickson Ondwari and Deaflympics runner Daniel Kiptum are engaged in a titanic battle for Sportsman Living with Disability Award ahead of the 2018 Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) schedule for January 11 at Fort Jesus, Mombasa County.

Also in the mix are wheelchair racers Samuel Kuria and Henry Caleb Otieno. Three times nominee Jane Ndenga from Wheelchair tennis, Special Olympics Team Kenya goalkeeper Michelle Kaindi and wheelchair racers Caroline Wanjira, Eunice Adhiambo and Asia Mohamed are the contestants for the Sportswomen Living with Disability Award.

Munuhe, who was nominated last year, started his season, winning bronze in singles at the World Team Cup Africa qualifier in Nairobi in February before claiming silver medals in singles and doubles during the ITF Nairobi Open Futures tournament the same month.

Munuhe once again settle for silver in singles at Britam Kenya Open in September. He again claimed silver medals in singles and doubles at ITF Dan Devan Wheelchair Tennis Features in Ghana  and Nigeria Wheelchair Open respectively all in October.

Munuve, finished second in the category in 2017 after losing to the category and Soya overall winner Samuel Mushai.

Ondwari was the second highest top scorer at the 2018 World Deaf Handball Championship with 36 goals, four short of the highest scorer Murat Chomaev of Russia.

Kiptum stunned defending champion Peter Toroitich  to win Safaricom Deaflympics Half Marathon in a time of 1 hour, 08 minutes and 02 seconds while Kuria was the wheelchair winner in 21km race during the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon in October.

Ndenga, who has for the last three years earned nomination but without success, had one of her best seasons. Ndenga started the year in style, winning good gold in both singles at the ITF World Team Cup Africa qualifier in February in Nairobi.

That saw her qualify for the World Team Cup held in June-July in the Netherlands. Then Ndenga would be elected as one of the 11 regional representatives at the ITF World Wheelchair Players’ Council in July.

Ndenga also won gold in doubles and reached singles semi-finals at ITF Nairobi Open Futures in February. She followed it up with similar results at Britam Kenya Open in September where she won gold in doubles before reaching the semis in singles.

Ndenga would settle for silver medals in singles and doubles respectively at ITF Dan Devan Wheelchair Tennis Futures in Ghana and Nigeria Wheelchair Open all in October.

Kaindi was the keeper at Special Olympics Team Kenya for Soccer Unity Cup held in Chicago. Kenya might have finished sixth overall but Kaindi won Golden Gloves for her outstanding performance.

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