NAIROBI, August 22 – The national Paralympics team will leave the country on August 28 for Beijing, where they will compete in the Paralympics games scheduled for September 7-17.,
Sports assistant minister Wavinya Ndeti will lead the delegation to China and Henry Wanyoike who is the good will ambassador for the International Paralympics committee [IPC] will be team captain.
Speaking at Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani on Friday, chairman of the Kenya Paralympics team Douglas Sidialo said he was confident that the 13 competitors will deliver because of their past track record adding that government and corporate support would spur them on.
“We had 16 athletes training here but only 13 are going to make it to Beijing because using the IPC minimum qualification standards Kenya qualified ten men and three women but the quota the IPC gave was nine male and three female plus a power lifter,” Sidialo said.
There was a minute silence following the death of Herina Melit who was one of the coaches and Ndeti urged the team to do their best in her honour.
“Please bring more medals to Kenya for the honor of our colleague who passed away yesterday. The disabled face tough challenges but you have the strength and determination to overcome,” Ndeti said.
She paid tribute to the Qatar airways for awarding traveling kit and good rates for air travel to the Kenya Paralympics team.
“Qatar has given us good air ticket rates which is a challenge to other airlines including our own Kenya Airways. They have also donated a traveling kit. I urge corporate bodies to get involved with our youth and sports because that is a social responsibility,” she said.
Qatar’s Sales Manager Agnes Kamatu said that they will support the team for representing the country in the global tournament.
Deputy Sports Commissioner, Jairus Karenga urged the team to perform at the highest level in the games.
Among the athletes who will represent Kenya in the Beijing games are Henry Wanyoike who won gold in both 10,000and 5,000 metres in 2004 Games, Emmanuel Asinikal and Francis Thuo who both clinched bronze in 5,000 metres in Athens and Joseph Lomong.
Also featuring in the list is Nelly Munyalo who earned a bronze medal in the 2006 Netherlands Paraplegic Games.
Abraham Tarbei who won a gold medal at the 2007 All Africa games held in Algiers and Henry Kirwa who was second in the 2007 International Paralympics Sports Association held in Sao Paolo are also in the team.
The top name in javelin and shot-put categories is Mary Nakhumicha, the javelin gold winner in the 2002 Paraplegic games in Cairo.
She broke the javelin world record in the 1996 games held in Spain and in the 1996 Australia competition she won a silver medal in the javelin category and a bronze award in the shot-put contest.
David Boit will also take part in the javelin and shot-put challenge.