Henry Kirwa won bronze in the (T.12/T.13) 1,500m race yesterday at the ongoing Paralympics in Rio.

Kirwa, a triple gold medalist at the Beijing Paralympics (1500m, 5000m and 10,000m), clocked a new personal best of 3:49.59 to finish third behind Abdellatif Baka of Algeria, who won gold in new world record time of 3:48.29. Ethiopia’s Tamiru Demisse took silver in 3:48.49. The previous world record mark of 3:48.84 was set by Kenya’s David Korir at 2012 London Paralympic Games. Korir missed out on the 2016 Paralympics qualifiers but traveled to Rio as a running guide.

This is Kenya’s third medal at the games, after Team Kenya captain Samuel Mushai and Wilson Bii won gold and bronze respectively in the (T.11) 5,000m race. Kirwa, 43, will be chasing for gold in the (T.12/ T.13) 5,000m on Thursday as he seeks to improve his 2012 London Paralympics position (silver) in 5,000m.

Elsewhere, Mushai is set to defend his (T.11) 1,500m title and world record tomorrow at the ongoing Rio Paralympics. He will be joined by Bii in the final.

Mushai, the Team Kenya skipper, guided by James Boit, won his heat in 4:04.50; 6.13 shy of his world record of 3:58.37 set in the 2012 London Paralympics. This is Mushai’s season best too. He was drawn in the same pool with his bitter rival, the London Paralympics silver medalist Odiar Santos of Brazil, who clocked 4:05.34 to finish second and also set his season’s best.

In the slowest heat (3), Bii with his partner Benard Korir won in 4:13.20 and qualified as the group winner. Kenya’s third force Erick Sang, who was initially drawn in heat one didn’t turn up for the race. Semih Deniz won the first heat in 4:11.75 to directly book a place in the finals.

Santos gets another chance to challenge Mushai in the T.11 1,500m final, advancing as a best loser. Heat winners and the next three fastest athletes qualify for the final. The other two finalists are Canadian Jason Dunkerley with running partner Josh Karanja who clocked 4:14.99 and Japanese Wada Shinya and his guide Nataka Takashi who posted 4:1612.

Courtesy of the-star.co.ke

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