As the final members of Team Kenya’s delegation to the Tokyo Paralympic Games continued to make their way out of the Japanese capital Wednesday night, Tunisia held brief for Africa by leading the continent’s medal haul.
By close of play Wednesday, Tunisia had garnered three gold, four silver and one bronze medal and were lying in 26th place.
Two gold medals came from 31-year-old double champion Raoua Tlili on the field.
Tlili – Tunisia’s 2016, 2017 and 2019 Best Impaired Sports Personality of the Year – won the women’s discus and shot put in the F41 category (short stature) with Walid Ktila accounting for the third gold in the men’s 100 metres, T34 (athletes with co-ordination impairment).
Nigeria follow in 31st place with three gold, one silver and three bronze while South Africa – boosted by the electric Ntando Mahlangu’s sensational gold in the T63 (lower limb deficiency) long jump competition – are in 32nd place with three gold, one silver and one bronze medal.
China are runaway leaders with 147 medals (46 gold, 43 silver and 36 bronze) while the independent team (Russians cannot compete as Russia due to a doping ban) is second with 89 medals (32, 20, 37) and Great Britain third with 86 (30, 24, 32).
The final members of Kenya’s delegation to Tokyo depart on September 7 with Members of Parliament who had travelled here for the Games – led by chairman Patrick Makau – having departed Tokyo Wednesday night.
Sports Chief Administrative Secretary Simon Kachapin, who departs Thursday night, paid a courtesy call on Kenya’s ambassador to Japan Tabu Irina on Wednesday, commending the mission’s efforts to support Team Kenya.
The 2020 Paralympic Games have been Kenya’s worst ever with just one bronze medal to show through Nancy Chelangat Koech in the 1,500 metres T11 (visually impaired category)..
Questions are being asked as to why Kenya National Paralympic Committee’s four “interested parties” were not exhaustively engaged in the selection of the Kenyan team to Tokyo.
The “interested parties” are the visually impaired, wheelchair and amputees, the federation for the mentally handicapped and celebral palsy federation.
Observers maintain that the intermittent calls for change at the courts-happy KNPC, where elections are long overdue, will certainly snowball into a revolution, especially with the International Paralympics Federation (IPC) seeking to use the sport to bring about social change.
IPC’s Brazilian President Andrew Parsons’ rallying call has been to use the Paralympic Games to change the world and fight for equality.
“We want to change the world, and we cannot change the world only through sport. We believe that change starts with sport, but we need to connect with the other sectors of society,” Parsons said at the start of these Games that end on Sunday with the closing ceremony at the National Stadium in Tokyo.
“Paralympians are a small percentage of persons with disabilities. They are incredible examples, but we want to change the world for the 1.2 billion people,” he said.