Over 300 athletes are expected at the Paralympic Games track and field trials this weekend at the Eldoret’s Kipchoge Keino Stadium.
With four athletes-Nancy Chelangat Koech, Mary Waithera Njoroge, Wesley Kimeli Sang and Assia Mohammed- already qualified, the battle of slots will be up for grabs ahead of Dubai Grand prix and Tunisia Grand prix as part of the qualifiers for the World championships ahead of Paris Paralympic Games.
The Paralympics Technical Director Joseph Ochieng said that the trials will give opportunities for the athletes plus their guides a chance to showcase their talents on track and field.
“Apart from the Dubai Grand Prix in February before heading for the world championships in Japan,” said Ochieng, who is also the chairman of Para Sports in Uasin Gishu County.
He said that the Japan World Para Athletics Championships will be the direct ticket to Paris after all the grandprix and regional qualifiers.
“we shall also have the regional qualifiers that will be staged in Tunisia World Para Athletics qualifiers in Tunisia come March. In all these, we are trying to ensure that we get the right people and their different events and their qualification time,” he said.
Coach Ruth Ndalut explained that on Thursday 18th, all the athletes will be gathering for the examination, or classification of athletes before they start the competition on Friday all the way to Saturday at the same venue.
“Classification is the most important factor because we need to put athletes in their right race or competition category,” she said.
“This is a very busy year for us as we are preparing them for Paralympics. We also have other events like the world championships and grandpries across the world,” she said.
As a coach, she will be relying on experienced sides like Nelly Sile, (javelin and shot put), Fausia Sifuna (discus, javelin and shot put), Hillary Tarus (400m), Brian Kipchirchir (long jump and 400m), Brian Esogon (long jump, 400m and 100m), Timothy Yatoich (javelin), Theophilus Rono (javelin, shot put), Aron Kikoech (javelin, shot put), Winrose Nafula (discus, shot put), Beatrice Cherop (shot put, discus) and Kelvin Wamalwa (javelin, shot put).