Extreme weather cost Kenya African Para-Taekwondo title – coach

The national Para-Taekwondo team poses for a photo days before travelling to Kigali, Rwanda for ...
The national Para-Taekwondo team poses for a photo days before travelling to Kigali, Rwanda for the second edition of the African Para-Taekwondo Ope. PHOTO/Charity Wanja)

The national Para-Taekwondo Head Coach Kolele Kahindi has blamed the extreme cold in Kigali for his team’s struggles at the Rwandan capital during the recently concluded second Africa Paralympics Taekwondo Championships.

The Kenyan contingent that comprised of six taekwondokas narrowly missed out on a chance to win gold after their outstanding player Emmanuel Mweni Karisa got injured in the semifinal of the under -61 category although he recovered remarkably to win bronze.

“The whole transition process wasn’t an easy thing for us. You know the conditions there are a stark contrast of the heat in Mombasa where we usually train. I watched my players lose their matches one after the other. It’s only Karisa who was seemingly unfazed and had a bright start compared to the rest.

“We’ve definitely learnt several lessons. When we fly back to Kenya together with the other coaches we have agreed that the team will be training in Mombasa for a period of three weeks then for a week in Nairobi. This way I know we will prepare them adeptly for any condition that might arise in the future,” he told Citizen Digital.

The national Para-Taekwondo team will use the upcoming East and Central African games as well as the East Africa championships as build up tournaments for the World Paralympics Taekwondo tournament slated for October this year in Manchester City, United Kingdom.

“We have agreed as coaches that we will not head to the championships in Manchester City directly without undertaking serious preparations,” he said.

Kahindi lamented the lack of sufficient training gear as he called upon support from potential sponsors and extra funding from the government.

“We are giving it our best despite the several challenges we are facing. Maybe we would have put in a better performance if our players had been exposed to some of the equipment there. Look at something like the mouthpiece, prior to the completion they hadn’t used such a gear and only learnt to use them when we were there,” he decried.

Although their performances in the upcoming championships will be crucial, the Kenyan taekwondokas have already put one foot into the 2020 Olympics that will be held in Japan.

“What we did in Kigali might not have been so impressive but you see the criteria that will determine who will head to Japan in 2020 is very different.

They were looking at the draws, the matches we played and the standard of the games. Ours was good so definitely it enhances our chances,” he added.

-Report by Mwangi Githinji.

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