Paralympics team seeks State House invite

The Kenya Paralympics team that participated in the second Rio Olympics qualifiers arrived back in the country on Tuesday morning from Marrakech, Morocco, to a warm reception at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Traditional dancers and a few officials were on hand to welcome the team that won, 5 gold, 4 silver and 3 bronze medals in what was their last round of qualification that took place between May 1 and 8 to finish fourth out of the 20 competing nations. The gold medallists were; Bernard Kosgei Kipng’etich in 1500m T12, Misik Stanley  Kipkoech in 1500m T46, Stephen Wesonga 400m T47, Nancy Chelangat Koech 200m T11 and Irene Cherono Tanui 400m T 46. Sylvia Olero Atieno of Discus F44 – 26.70m, Wesley Sang Kimeli 400m T 46, Henry Kiprono Kirwa 1500m T12 and Bernard Kosgei Kigo Ng’etich in 5000m T12 won the silver medals. Bronze medalists were Wesley Sang Kimeli who doubled in 1500m and 200m T46, and Nancy Chelangat Koech in 1500m T11. Team captain Henry Kirwa, a gold medalist in both 2008 and 2012 editions of the Olympics Games is upbeat they can make history in Rio. “The government has been very supportive to us. Previously it was different, like in 2008 only 12 athletes competed. So far over 30 have qualified which is  big thing.” “We only need to go to camp early and keep the same spirit ahead of Rio Paralympics,” added the T12 category athlete who doubles in 5000 and 1500 metres. His sentiments were shared by Agnes Oluoch, the National Paralympics Chairperson, who wants the same recognition accorded to the Kenya Rugby Sevens team. “I congratulate the team for the performance, they have done us proud and for this we would like the President to invite us to statehouse.” “If the government could support us, we would like to be be in residential camps by mid June,” she requested. Caroline Kariuki, Principal Sports Officer at the Ministry of Sports lauded the team’s exploits promising the government will not relent in supporting the team. She was flanked by Anthony Kariuki, the Rio Paralympics team’s General Manager who revealed he would be meeting other stakeholders on Thursday to chat out the progress of the team. Thus far, 22 athletes have already qualified, awaiting ratification of more from the International Paralympics body.

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