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Opening Ceremony: Kenya takes her pride of place as 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games begin

ATHLETICS By Robin Toskin in Tokyo, Japan | August 26th 2021
Kenya's flag bearer powerlifter Hellen Wawira Kariuki and Captain Rodgers Kiprop during the opening ceremony {Photo by Robin Toskin in Tokyo)

Team Kenya Paralympics strolled majestically into the Tokyo Olympic Stadium led by captain Rodgers Kiprop and Powerlifter Hellen Wawira for the Opening Ceremony graced by Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

August 24, 2021. The cauldron is lit during the opening ceremony REUTERS

Kenya will be taking part in the Games for the 12 time since making her debut in Heidelberg, Germany in 1972.

Nine athletes, seven in athletics, a para rower and a powerlifter will bid to fly the Kenyan flag high.

Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - August 24, 2021. Fireworks during the opening ceremony REUTERS

The event comes on the heels of another sterling performance by Kenyans at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics held under stifling heat and humidity in the Japanese capital from July 23 to August 8.

The Paralympic Games, just like the Olympics are being held amid the Covid-19 pandemic that saw the events delayed by a year.

Kenya won three gold medals, a silver and two bronze at the Rio Paralympic Game in 2016.

Team Kenya Paralympics marches during the opening ceremony {Photo by Robin Toskin in Tokyo)

Paralympian Henry Kirwa, who stands as Kenya’s most decorated athlete in either Paralympics or the Olympics with four gold medals and two bronze, is the head coach of the Team Kenya at the 2020 Games.

Kenya hold Paralympic records for the visually impaired in 1,500m T11 (3:58.37 Samwel Mushai), 5000m T11 (15:11.07-Henry Wanyoike), 5000m T12 (31:42.97-Henry Kirwa) and 10,000m T11 (31:37.25-Henry Wanyoike).

The 29-year-old Powerlifter, Wawira, will be the first Kenyan in action on Thursday 7am East Africa time.

August 24, 2021. The Paralympic flame is transferred to a torch during the opening ceremony REUTERS

 

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