Kenya won a total of 42 medals (22 gold, two silver and 18 bronze) as the 14th edition of Special Olympics World Summer Games ended yesterday in Los Angeles, USA.

This is the best ever performance by Team Kenya that was represented by 51 athletes. The performance has surpassed the 35 medals including 21 gold, 13 silver and a bronze that the country won at the last Special Olympics World Summer Games held in Athens, Greece in 2011. Onesmus Mutinda, who was the first to win in men’s 10,000m (00:32:46.10) wrapped up the games with another gold in the men’s half marathon on Sunday. The early morning event was run at Long Beach on the shores of California’s Pacific Coast. “It was a breezy but warm morning but the crowds came out in huge numbers to cheer us on and I am glad I won the half marathon,” Mutinda, who finished 34 minutes ahead of his rivals, told reporters. Amos Ochuna Nafululu won silver in men’s 800m (00:02:08.16) and a gold in the men’s 1500m.

“The 1500m gold was a major consolation for me after losing the 800m race I led till the last minute when I was overpowered by Bahrain’s Altamimi Hamad (00:02:07.26) in the last stretch,” said Nafululu. Alex Komen and Susan Gatwiri won two gold medals each in both 3000m and 5000m. Gatwiri clocked 00:11:03.13 to bag gold in women 3000m. Dineo Monchonane of South Africa came in second in 00:12:51.69, while third place went to Mariia Liudnovskova (00:13:52.61).

Gatwiri went ahead to win the women 5000m in a classic personal best of 18:51.4 after overlapping runner-up Alice Mukamana of Rwanda (21:44.31) twice. Likewise, Komen won the men’s 3000m in 00:09:17.35 ahead of Khaled Gueblaoui of Tunisia (00:09:47.92) and Yoandy Ledesma of Cuba (00:10:04.60). Komen was equally impressive in his debut in 5000m, which he won by registering a personal best of 16:37.1. Kenya thrashed Switzerland 5-0 to bag gold in men’s football final. It was also the same trend in women’s football final where Kenya dismissed Iran 3-0 to win gold.

Everlyn Ogechi breezed to the tape in 00:01:06.51 to win the hotly contested women’s 400m ahead of second-placed Kathryn Saunders of Canada (00:01:09.24) and Elizabeth Moyo (00:01:10.85) who settled for third place. Ogechi also won silver in the women 800m run in 00:02:40.99.

The Games,which attracted 7,000 athletes from 177 countries, saw Kenya take part in six disciplines including football, athletics, swimming, basketball and handball. The event was officially opened by US First Lady Michelle Obama last Saturday. Olympic athletes Michael Phelps and Greg Louganis are the games special ambassadors.

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