• Kenyan-Born Paralympian Wins Top Book Award
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Sep 24, 2010-


Kenyan born British Paralympian Anne Wafula has revealed her delight at seeing her remarkable life story become a published book after winning the BBC One competition My Story which was launched last year to find the most inspiring true-life stories in the UK. 

Wafula’s book titled "In My Dreams I Dance" was officially published by HarperCollins last week and follows the amazing life of the Kenyan-born star. 

More than 75,000 people sent entries in for the competition with a panel of judges short-listing 15 finalists before naming Essex resident Wafula as the second of five to win the ultimate prize of seeing their story become a published book.

Wafula was struck down by polio in her small Kenyan village of Mihuu in Western Kenya when she was just two years old; a disease that she was left her permanently paralysed from the waist down.

She faced huge prejudice in her local village because of her condition and her family was forced to flee their home as Wafula’s neighbours called her a snake and stated she was cursed because of her disability. 

Soon after, Wafula lost the closest person to her as her mother died suddenly just when her daughter needed her most. 

However, Wafula defied the odds to achieve fantastic academic results whilst caught up in a military coup in Kenya and went on to qualify as an English teacher. 

Soon after, Wafula married an Englishman before moving to England where she had a healthy baby boy despite doctors saying it was impossible for her to give birth due to her condition. 

It was in England that Wafula discovered wheelchair racing and after taking up the sport; she become the first ever wheelchair racer from East Africa to compete in the Paralympics when she represented Kenya at the Athens 2004 Games. 

She then switched allegiances to Britain before winning a bronze medal at the 2007 BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester and is currently in further training with a view to representing Great Britain in the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Wafula admitted that she is now very happy to see her incredible story become a published book but added that her main hope for the story is that it will make people think differently about people with a disability. 

The 41-year-old told insideworldparasport: "I’m really so excited that my story has been made into a book because it gives people the chance to get to know the real Anne and understand all about me and what I have been through. 

"But my biggest hope is that people read my book and see how I overcame my disabilities to achieve more than I ever dreamed I could. 

"I hope that my story makes them view disabilities in a different way and makes them believe that they can overcome any obstacle if they work hard enough. 

"I feel privileged that I’ve had the chance to tell my story and I believe that after reading it, people might follow my motto of never giving up."

Wafula added that London 2012 remains a huge goal for her and that she would be honoured to represent Britain at the Paralympics though she added that she will never forget her Kenyan roots. 

She told insideworldparasport: "England is where I first discovered wheelchair racing existed so I do feel like I am from Great Britain and I would be honoured to compete at London 2012 as an athlete from the country.

"However, Kenya runs through my blood and will always be a huge part of who I am regardless of what kit I wear. 

"I was very proud to be the first East African wheelchair racer to compete at the Paralympics but I am very proud to compete for Great Britain as well so I consider myself and Essex girl from Africa."




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