Focus on world Para athletics after brilliant show in Tunis

Kenya's Ann Wacuka in a past event. [File]

Kenyan Para athletes are now turning sights on the 2024 World Para Athletics championships in Kobe, Japan after a brilliant show at the Tunis World Para Athletics Grand Prix.

Kenyan Para athletes used the Tunis meet to gauge their form and secure qualifications ahead of the global show set for May 17-25.

The team that competed in the Tunis show that ended on Thursday evening posted surprising results in the sprints and some field events.

For instance, Ann Wacuka produced stunning throws to finish second in the women’s F54/55.

Wesley Sang and John Njoroge secured podium places in 400m T46/47 and T11/12 respectively.

Sang finished second in his classification, while Njoroge took third place.

Top Para athletics jetted in from Tunis yesterday after chalking up victories in a number of contests.

A Kenya National Paralympic Committee official and technical official Joseph Ochieng yesterday said 24 Para athletes, excluding their guides, had hit the qualifying times for the Kobe action.

“The team will take a short break before we begin preparing for Kobe world championships. Those who have qualified will start training as soon as possible,” said Ochieng.

Samwel Mushai, the T11 Paralympic gold medallist (2016) oozed class in the 5000m T11 leading Kenyan charges to a 1-2 finish.

"I am now looking forward to competing in Kobe and ultimately at the 2024 Paris Paralympics. The training will be harder ahead of the international competitions," Mushai said after the win.

John Wambua is returning home with a gold medal in the men's 5000m T54 competition under his belt. He clocked 18:02.

The squad also managed podium places in the sprints, with Emmanuel Bett finishing third in the men's 100m T44/62/64.

Bett crossed the finishing mark behind race winner Italy's Francesco Loragno and runner-up Nour Alsana of Saudi Arabia.

In the women's 100m T53/54, Caroline Wanjira, like Bett, took the third place in the contest won by Amal Sabi of Tunisia. Lamia Benkrama of Algeria finished second.

Kenyan women dominated the 1500m T11 on Wednesday, the second day of the Para Athletics Grand Prix.

Reigning World Paralympic 1500m T11 champion Nancy Chelangat led Mary Waithera to first and second places respectively; the duo firing warning shots ahead of the two global showdowns.

Chelangat, who won silver in Rio 2016 and silver at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics clocked 5:00.83 while Waithera settled in second in 5:00.44, with Joanna Mazur of Poland closing the podium in 5:09.44.

“The training in Kaptagat and Eldoret prepared me well for the Tunis Grand Prix. I am aiming to fly the country’s flag this year,” said Chelangat.

Nelly Nasimiyu settled in the second runner-up place in the 1500m T12/13 the same position as Wesley Sang in the 1500m T46.

John Lokedi who is keen on racing in Kobe and Paris finished fourth in the 1500m T13/20 event.

Caroline Wanjira delivered a second place in a tactical race won by Algeria’s Saliha Taleb.

“The preparations were the best. We received a lot of support from the Ministry of Sports,” team coach Henry Kirwa said.

By AFP 22 hrs ago
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