FOCUS ON TOKYO

Athletes brace up for Paralympics world qualifiers trials

Seven athletes must make the cut for Team Kenya to Marrakesh where they will be racing to maintain their status in the top 10 world rankings.

In Summary

• Nancy Chelagat, guided by Geoffrey Rotic, also qualified for Tokyo Paralympics in the T11 1,500m last November.

•Para rower Asia Sururu is the other Kenyan who has landed a tickets to Tokyo 2020.

Wilson Bii and his guide Benard Korir during the Rio Paralympics Games.
Wilson Bii and his guide Benard Korir during the Rio Paralympics Games.
Image: REUTERS/ FILE

Para-athletes converge today at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani for national trials to select a team to the World Paralympics qualifiers set for February 25 to March 2 in Marrakesh, Morocco.

The Kenya National Paralympics Committee will be looking to select a team of at least 15 athletes for the Marrakesh show, where they will vie for  Tokyo 2020 slots.

At the moment, Kenya has three athletes confirmed for 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games including  T11 5,000m World champion Samuel Mushai and guide-runner James Boit. Mushai will also compete in the T11 1,500m race in Tokyo.

Nancy Chelagat, guided by Geoffrey Rotich, has also qualified for Tokyo Paralympics last November and will feature in  T11 1,500m. Para rower Asia Sururu is the other Kenyan who has landed  a tickets to Tokyo 2020.

Seven athletes must make the cut for Team Kenya to Marrakesh where they will be seeking to maintain their status in the top 10 world rankings.

They are Wilson Bii (T11 5,000m, 1,500m), Rodgers Kiprop (T12 5,000m, 1,500m), Mary Waithera (T11 1,500m), Wesley Sang ((T46 1,500m), Stanley Misik (T46 1,500m) and Vincent Kiprono (T46 400m, long jump). Sylvia Olero is also among the top 10 in F44/ 46 women's discus throw.

Though she sits 11th in the combined F55/ 56 and position five in F55 women's Javelin throw, she stands a chance to scale up the ranking if she puts in more effort. The above named athletes stand good chance to book tickets to Tokyo Games.

Mathew Mugenya, a KNPC technical official, said they are hoping to field a big number of athletes but admitted this will be subject to funding. But when push comes to shove, he said, KNPC would wish to list at least 15.

“We are looking to enter as many athletes as possible but not less than 15. This is the time to give chance to new para athletes who are equally talented but have not had the opportunity to compete internationally,” said Mugenya.

He added that this is the best chance for intellectually disabled athletes to participate in Paralympics. They are classified as T20 and will take part in 1,500m, 400m, long lump and shot put.