Kenya’s Muchai claim first Para athletics gold, three compatriots disqualified

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Sep 08, 2016

Kenya’s Samwel Muchai Kimani clinched the first Para athletics gold medal of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games at Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic stadium on Thursday as teammate Wilson Bii picked bronze in the 5000m T11.

However the first day of competition on track after the games opening ceremony on Thursday was marred by the disqualification of three Kenyan runners who were locked out of their respective races for failing to observe the rules.

In the men’s 5000m Bii took it pretty quick leading at the 100m and led the field through the first lap followed by compatriot Eric Sang, a paralympian debutant and Muchai lying in third, the team work unfolding well with Santo’s lurking behind the trio.

Sang led for most of the race with Bii staying at a touching distance ahead of Mushai, a decision that costed him a medal. The Kenyans paced the field with a relaxed pace of the nine starters alongside their guides.

Brazilian three-time Paralympic silver medallist Odair Santos, took to the front of the leading pack with just over three laps remaining,as the crowd roared their delight.

Muchai moved out wide and inched his way forward brilliantly to challenge Santos with about 700m to go as Bii followed on with Sang falling off the pace.

But in a final-lap sprint against Muchai it was the Kenyan with his guide James Boit who proved stronger, sprinting clear down the home straight to take the gold in a personal best 15:16.11.

“First, I won the gold for myself, second is for my country and third is for my family,” said the 26-year-old, who beat Santos to the 1,500m T11 Paralympic title in London four years ago.

“I wanted to win the gold since I started my preparation for the 2016 Paralympic Games. It will not fire only Kenya, it will inspire the whole world.”

Santos (15:17.55) took the silver while bronze went to Bll (15:22.96). Sang’s inexperience cost him a finish as he crossed the line fourth but was disqualified as the runner did not finish infront of his guide.

Muchai will be looking to defend his 1500m title in Rio.

The disqualifications

Nelly Nasimiyu was disqualified from the heat of the women’s 1500m T12 for failing to to retain the tether attachment with her guide Richard Karuri. She had finished fourth in the qualifying race behind Spanish Oses Ayucar.

The same fate alo befell the other visually impaired Henry Mwendo the other Kenyan who was in action at the Olympic stadium. Mwendo who ran four events in the world championships at Christchurch and was disqualified in all his events.

Mwendo had a timed his race perfectly and was well poised to win the race of three which he did in 49.85 which got his through to the semi finals of his T12 400m qualifying heat.

However as in his previous world races in 2011 he was knocked out for lane infringement as he was adjudged to have strolled out of his lane as per the IAAF rule for the 400m even for the visually impaired athletes.