In Kenya, A Shunned Young Man Becomes a Beloved, Talented Coach

ذو الحجة 16, 1434

Thomas Gathu was born in Kenya at a time when children with intellectual disabilities were usually shunned, hidden – or worse. Yet his family saw that he had special gifts. When Thomas found Special Olympics, those gifts became talents.

A Painful Childhood

His family tried to help him learn. But when he started his schooling, his life became a nightmare. Thomas was punished and insulted because he was slow to write and learn. He performed well below other children. Teachers did not want to try to teach him. Students made fun of him. His family also suffered from the mockery.

The head of the school eventually recommended that his parents send him away, which was hard on everyone. But soon, he found Special Olympics and whole new paths to success opened up.

Thomas Gatu, decked with medals, smiles

Thomas Gathu overcame problems as a child to grow up a well-loved coach and Special Olympics gold medalist.

Runner, Teacher, Coach

Thomas Gathu could run – and ran fast. He’d never really tried to race before! He worked, trained and learned perseverance through Special Olympics. He gained confidence, as he perfected his new skills. Soon, other people saw what he could do – and how he could do some things even better than they could. Their prejudices about people with intellectual disabilities started to fall away.

Thomas was proof of how many hidden talents people with disabilities can have. Through Special Olympics, Thomas learned discipline, gained physical strength and even began to build leadership skills.

Now a grown man, Thomas has been able to work as a physical education teacher. He has served as a spokesman for people with intellectual disabilities, even addressing a gathering of 350,000 people in Paris. He has also become a beloved coach with Special Olympics Kenya, where the younger athletes see him as a true role model who understands what they are going through.


A Coach's Regimen

Today, he has a message to families of people with disabilities: “Do not hide your special children. They are part of us,” he says. “Denying them play, exposure and association is violating their basic human rights.”

Thomas teaches his athletes to strive for excellence – get out of the blocks fast and finish strongly. That’s because he believes most races are won off the start or with a strong finishing kick. And Thomas is out there, showing them what to do, running alongside his athletes to encourage them each step of the way. His athletes alternate days between running hills for strength and endurance and running short sprints to increase speed and explosiveness out of the blocks.

He adds weight training into the regimen, especially for the sprinters so they can use their strength to get a good start in the race. Nutrition is another key factor, especially in Kenya, so that is something else that Thomas teaches. He encourages a high intake of milk for bone strength, and foods low in fat for energy.

A New World

Thomas gives much of the credit for his success to his mother, who never gave up on him, as well as his father. “My papa always told me that to do well, you have to work hard --  because challenges will always be there.”
 
But he also is appreciative of the new world that Special Olympics opened up for him, giving him hope when he had so little. 

ديون ناميسيب

إنه متحدث ومثال يحتذى به. إنه لم يبدأ على هذا النحو في ناميبيا.
معرفة المزيد ››


قوة الرياضات

الرياضات وسيلة قوية لتغيير حياة أبطالنا.
مشاهدة عرض الشرائح ››



Your Donation Matters

Special Olympics transforms athletes’ lives through the joy of sport. Help us make a difference.

DONATE TODAY»

Volunteer Near You

Volunteering with Special Olympics is fun and very rewarding, for both the athlete and the volunteer!

LEARN MORE»

Follow Us

ساعدنا في الوصول إلى بطل رياضي آخر

التبرع »

تعرف على الأحداث المحلية وتعلم المزيد حول فرص المتطوعين في أي من مكاتبنا البالغ عددها 220 من كل أنحاء العالم

العثور على موقع بالقرب منك »

Videos and Photos

خاص جدًا جدًاتساعد الموسيقى الأوليمبياد الخاصة في أن يكون لها تأثير في جميع أنحاء العالم.مشاهدة عرض الشرائح »


Videos and Photos

حول العالمقم بإنشاء صور لأحداث وأشخاص الأوليمبياد الخاصة.مشاهدة عرض الشرائح »


Videos and Photos

الشركاء في مرحلة التغييريعتبر شركاء الأوليمبياد الخاصة لا غنى عنهم فيما نقوم به.مشاهدة عرض الشرائح »


Videos and Photos

الرياضات الصيفيةيجري أبطالنا ويقفزون ويسبحون ويسجلون الأهداف في الصيف.مشاهدة عرض الشرائح »


Videos and Photos

قوة الرياضاتالرياضات وسيلة قوية لتغيير حياة أبطالنا.مشاهدة عرض الشرائح »


Videos and Photos

ما نقوم بهالرياضات والصحة والتعليم والمجتمع وغيرها.مشاهدة عرض الشرائح »


Videos and Photos

من نحننحن مجموعة من الأبطال والعائلات والمشاهير والمتطوعين وغير ذلك.مشاهدة عرض الشرائح »


Videos and Photos

إلى القمةكان كليمنجارو مجالا لإثبات بطولة بطل الأوليمبياد الخاصة من السنغافوري.مشاهدة عرض الشرائح »


Videos and Photos

عالم من الفرصصرح الأطباء بأن لاني "لن تحقق أي شيء". معرفة المزيد »


Videos and Photos

اكتشاف صوتهلطالما حلم ديفيد إيغان بأحلام كبيرة. انظر إليه الآن!معرفة المزيد »


Videos and Photos

ديون ناميسيبإنه متحدث ومثال يحتذى به. إنه لم يبدأ على هذا النحو في ناميبيا.معرفة المزيد »


Videos and Photos

مختلفيقول باري كيرنز كيف يكون شعورك وأنت تحمل بطاقة هوية مدون عليها كلمة "بطل".شاهد الفيديو »


Videos and Photos

الأبطال الأفضل من الناحية الصحيةعياداتنا الصحية المجانية تحدث فرقًا كبيرًا.مشاهدة الفيديو »


Videos and Photos

الأمل في هايتييلعب ليو وجدعون في أماكن مؤقتة ومدن مخيمة بقدر إمكانهم.مشاهدة الفيديو »


Videos and Photos

تمنحنا الرياضة المعرفةيتم دعم عملنا المتغير بتغير ظروف الحياة من قبل قوة الرياضة.شاهد الفيديو »


Videos and Photos

اللعب الجماعيتكشف الرياضات الجماعية نقاط القوة في كل عضو من أعضاء الفريق.مشاهدة الفيديو »


Special Olympics Blog

Health Needs Need Closer Examination

"You can't compete if your feet hurt, if your teeth hurt or if your ears ache."read more »

Posted on 2014-04-07 by Ryan

go to blog »


*

Special Olympics - Become a Fan