Team Kenya dazzles at Commonwealth Games opening ceremony

Cyprian Kimutai 07:01 - 29.07.2022

Africa 100 metres champion Ferdinand Omanyala and women’s wheelchair basketballer Carolina Wanjira were at the centre stage as they led the Kenyan delegation at the Opening Ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Just like the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, the opening ceremony at the Alexander Stadium saw each country have two flag bearers, a man and a woman.

Wanjira is part of the national women’s wheelchair basketball 3X3 team that for the first time in history secured qualification to the Commonwealth Games.

The team qualified for the quadrennial event despite losing in their final African qualifier to South Africa. Following the loss, the Commonwealth Games Association of Kenya applied for a bipartite allocation.

The method refers to when Commonwealth games federations get additional places for the physically challenged athletes in consultation with their Commonwealth Games Federation after applying for the special consideration.

The application was successful as Kenya was extended a special invitation to the Games. Apart from Wanjira, the team includes; Stella Titoy, Eunice Adhiambo and Rahel Akoth.

Omanyala, who assisted Wanjira to push her wheelchair will be aiming to make history by becoming the first Kenyan to win gold in the men’s 100m of the Commonwealth Games.

Africa’s fastest man will also be on a mission to revitalise himself after his poor performance at the recently held World Athletics Championships. 

Due to failure to secure an American visa on time, Omanyala arrived late and fatigued in Eugene, Oregon which saw him get knocked out of the Championships following a fifth-place finish in the semi-finals.

It was a red affair for Team Kenya during the opening ceremony as the men were seen dressed in dapper suits designed by Kenyan luxury designer Wanja Kenya.

The women, on the other hand, crisscrossed a packed Alexander Stadium dressed in a simple but elegant red maxi dress inspired by Africa’s most popular tribe, the Maasai.

Kenya will be represented by 127 sportsmen and women at the Games fighting for medals in 20 disciplines and eight para-sports.