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Paralympics team feted

NAIROBI, September 20 – President Mwai Kibaki has directed the Ministry of Finance to provide adequate resources for any team that qualifies to represent Kenya.

Kibaki said the resources currently awarded to the Ministry of Sports was not sufficient for national teams to prepare adequately and that he hopes this development will improve Kenya’s sports performance on the world stage.

“I am aware in the past, the sports ministry has not been adequately funded due to budgetary constraints,” said Kibaki.

“I have therefore asked the Minister of Finance to address this problem and ensure that any team that qualifies to represent Kenya is provided with adequate resources,” said Kibaki.

Kibaki made the remarks when he hosted the national Paralympics team at State House on Saturday where he presented them with their rewards and commended them for their sterling performance in China.

Triple gold medallist Henry Kirwa received a total of Sh6 million after winning the men’s 5000m and 1500m and in the men’s 10000 T-12 category.

Abraham Cheruiyot received Sh2.4 million for his victories in the T-46 category of the men’s 1500m and 5000m.

Deputy team captain Mary Nakhumicha, Samuel Mushai and Francis Thuo each got 1.2 million shillings for their exploits in the women’s javelin, men’s 1500 T-11and men’s 5000m T-11 respectively.

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Team captain Henry Wanyoike received Sh655,000 for clinching bronze in the 5000m T-11 race.

All the 13 athletes also received a token of Sh20,000 for being finalists in their respective events.

Guide runners were not left out with guides for the silver medallists getting Sh100,000 and bronze medallists guides receiving Sh75,000.

Minister of Sports Helen Sambili said that her ministry is liaising with experts to formulate programmes geared towards recruiting more disabled athletes and to help them progress from the grassroots to the elite level.

She added that the ministry had spent Sh30 million over two years to prepare the team for the Paralympics team which also took part in the 2006 Commonwealth Games, the World Paralympics Championships in October the same year and last year’s All Africa Games.

“This is proof that the ministry is giving youth an equal chance to participate in sports irrespective of their challenges and that sports talent abounds in all sections of our community,” said Sambili.

Chairman of the Kenya Paralympics Committee Douglas Sidialo appealed to the President to help them set up a secretariat to run their national activities.

He said that they also need resources to organize national championships, develop team sports like volleyball and wheelchair basketball and to train coaches.

Sidialo added that if the requests are implemented, Kenya will be prepared for the 2011 World Championships in New Zealand.

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