Henry Kirwa gave Kenyan a third gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games yesterday when he won the T.12/13 5,000m final.
Kenya’s medal tally now rises to five with two bronze.
Kirwa’s medal was his second at the 2016 Paralympics. On Sunday he won bronze in the T.12/13 1,500m race behind Algeria’s Abdellatif Baka and Ethiopia’s Tamiru Demisse respectively.
Kirwa who hails from Samoo, Nandi County stopped the clock in 14:17.32 to defeat Morocco’s El Amin Chentouf.
Kirwa had earlier pointed out the Moroccan as the man to beat in Rio and he did that by 3.72 seconds.
Kirwa, a triple gold medalist T.12 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m at the Beijing Paralympics in China, stayed with the leading pack for a better part of the race before he steadily stepped up the pace in the last 400m to reach the finish line ahead of everyoneas his rivals trailed him.
Kirwa was beaten to double silver at the International Paralympics Committee’s Marrakesh Grand Prix by Moroccans- Chentouf and Youssef Benibrahim in the T.12 5,000m and 1,500m respectively in March this year.
Chentouf finished second to Kirwa in 14:21.04 while Tunisia’s Aloui Bilel clocked 14:33.33 to settle for bronze.
Bilel set a new world and Paralympics Record, smashing a 21 year-old record posted by Panama’s Gomez Said’s 14:46.00 in Buenos Aires in 1995.
Despite relinquishing the title he won at the 2012 London Paralympics by bagging silver, Chentouf still holds the T.12 5,000m World and Paralympics Record of 13:53.76 set at the same event in the Britain.
Meanwhile, Kenyan officials staged a five-hour protest at the technical office of the Rio Paralympic Games on Wednesday to have Samuel Mushai’s and Wilson Bii’s medals in the T.11 5,000m which were withheld by the rtechn ical officials of the fgames handed to them.
This followed an appeal by Brazil to the International Paralympics Committee against the awarding of the medals won by Kenya last Thursday.
The Brazilians alleged the two Kenyan athletes arrived at the Olympic stadium late for the event, but were still allowed to participate by officials.
They also complained Mushai’s guide, James Boit, never held his hands up while crossing the finish line as required by the IPC rule. The appeal further stated that Mushai never changed his guide even though it was apparent he was stronger than his partner in the race.
The five-hour protest bore fruits as after deliberations, the IPC technical officials adjudicated that the Kenyans be handed their medals.
Courtesy of the-star.co.ke