Ben Okumu, a first year Bachelor of Science Student in the School of Physical Sciences is among a team of six Kenyans who will represent the country in the Inaugural World Chess Para-Olympics 2020. This is after showing exemplary performance in the online qualifiers held in April 2020.
The competition for people living with disability was initially scheduled to be played in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, from July 28 – August 5, however due to the surging COVID-19 outbreak the competition will be held online, May 21, 2020, to curb the spread of the virus.
According to the organizers of the tournament, International Chess Federation (FIDE), this will be the first ever online tournament which gives the federation an opportunity to highlight that chess continues to be accessible to everyone despite the Coronavirus pandemic.
Okumu, a member of the JKUAT Chess Club whose chess journey began in primary school said, he is excited to represent the country and will do his level best to fly the flag of the country high. “I am energized to make my debut in Kenyan colours and at the moment I am hard at practice.”
To sharpen his skills and prowess in the game, Okumu has been attending as many tournaments as he can especially blitz tournaments.
“In blitz tournaments things can get very competitive and the atmosphere is always very tense making you to always maintain concentration to avoid making unnecessary blunders,” said Okumu.
Okumu is joined by Sadam Sheikh, Geoffry Maoga, Nelson Muthochi, Wambalo Paranga and team captain, Edna Onyango. Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Egypt and Uganda will represent Africa in the 30 countries participating in the maiden World Chess Para-Olympics 2020.