The Kenya National Paralympic Committee held its Classification process today at Nyayo Stadium with a total number of 250 athletes present as they look forward to commencing the Commonwealth Games 2022 pre-qualifiers on 13th-14th January, 2022 at Moi International Stadium, Kasarani.
Top athletes in the pre-qualifiers will be selected to participate in the Commonwealth Games qualifying events that run until May 2022.
The pre-qualifiers are also geared towards identifying new sporting talent and targeting the youth with disabilities in the country.
“We are delighted that not only did they (athletes) register online but also showed up physically today at Nyayo Stadium. We have athletes from Nairobi, Rongo University, Kenyatta University, Thika Institute of the blind, West Pokot just to name a few,” said Agnes Oluoch, President Kenya National Paralympic Committee (KNPC).
“Of course, we do well in athletics – 100m, 200m and long distance, but we have to continue boosting other sports like swimming, cycling and powerlifting.”
These are the sports that will feature in the pre-qualifiers tomorrow at Kasarani.
“This time round, I am surprised that we have surpassed the number we expected, these are numbers we only see at Athletics Kenya. In the past, we have relied on our own athletes to pass the message, what we have done differently this time is we have reached out to many institutions of learning. It’s going to be very exciting to have universities and schools present also, the competition is stiff and the games ahead are even more thrilling.”
The Classification process is done to place different athletes into their respective categories with reference to their physical abilities to ensure fairness in competition during the trials. The process has been conducted by Dr. Dunera Ilako who is a licensed International Classifier (For visually impaired – Class T11, T12 & T13) and physiotherapist team lead by Titus Kilika. Others are Rosemary Ndeti and Kaburu Josephine.
The Kenya National Paralympic Committee will be participating in a series of international and continental events this year including Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games in August and World Championship in October as a pathway towards the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris.
The selected athletes will be put on this pathway and supported in training and preparation.
NOC-K, which is also the Commonwealth Games Association of Kenya, is hoping to qualify as many para-athletes as possible to the Games. In 2018, Kenya participated in powerlifting, with best results coming from Hellen Kariuki in the Women’s lightweight where she finished 4th while Joyce Njuguna in Women’s heavyweight finished 3rd. In athletics Stephen Wesonga ran in the 100 m T47 (below elbow or wrist amputation or impairment) and finished in 5th position.
The disciplines to feature in Birmingham include; Para Athletics, Wheelchair Basketball 3×3, Para Cycling – Track, Para Lawn Bowls, Para Powerlifting, Para Swimming, Para Triathlon and Para Table Tennis.