Kenyan paralympians set lofty targets for Rio 2016

Nairobi, July 28 (IANS) They do not have the same share of the limelight as their Olympics bound counterparts but that has not dissuaded Kenyan paralympians from setting lofty targets ahead of the Rio Games in August.

One of the stars and triple Beijing 2008 Paralympics gold medallist, Henry Kirwa, has promised to break two world records at the Summer Games that will start in the Brazilian city soon after the Olympics conclude, reports Xinhua.

Kirwa who also set three world records in Beijing — the 1500m and 5000m in T13 and 10000m in the T46 categories — is aiming to better his own standards in the shorter distances.

He is expecting tough challengers from athletes from Morocco and Tunisia but is confident he will have the measure of them come Rio.

“During the Africa championships in Tunisia and Morocco, we managed to learn some of the tactics our major competitors use and we are working on overcoming them,” the men 1500m bronze winner in London said.

Team Kenya’s paralympics track and field coach, Ruth Chumo, tipped the side to bring more than the six medals they won in London — two golds, two silvers and two bronzes — when in Brazil.

The squad will train for a month and depart for Rio two weeks before the start of the Paralympics as opposed to the ten-day build-up they had for London.

“The Kenya National Paralympics Committee will sponsor our training for the first half and Government takes over the rest,” Chumo added.

Abraham Tarbei (1,500m, T46) and Samuel Muchai (1500m, T11) won the gold medals, the former in 3:50.15.

Nancy Chelang’ at Koech who took the women’ s 200m T11 gold during the May qualifiers in Morocco is also keen on landing a Paralympics title.

“I have been working hard in my training and believe God will fulfil my dream,” the 20 year-old said.

The Paralympians are scheduled to travel between September 5 and 18 with Kenya represented by 26 track and field athletes, a power lifter and a para rower.



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