Team Kenya Paralympics deny mistreatment, embezzlement claims


Team Kenya Paralympics captain, Samuel Muchai (right) and his Olympics counterpart, Ezekiel Kemboi (partly hidden) ...
Team Kenya Paralympics captain, Samuel Muchai (right) and his Olympics counterpart, Ezekiel Kemboi (partly hidden) return the national flag to President Uhuru Kenyatta. PHOTO/PSCU

Team Kenya athletes for the 2016 Rio Paralympics have distanced themselves from claims funds meant for the squad was misappropriated and they were mishandled by officials in Brazil.

Double Rio gold winner and team captain, Samuel Muchai absolved officials accompanying the team to the Games from any blame besides stressing it was not their fault he was almost stripped of the men 5000m T11 gold.

On Monday, affiliates of the National Council of Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) demonstrated outside the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission headquarters demanding Sports Minister, Dr. Hassan Wario and Sports Commissioner, Maina Kiruma to step down from their roles.

They said that was to pave way for investigations into alleged misappropriation of Ksh132m from the State meant for the Paralympics team by officials who also mistreated the athletes in Brazil.

Speaking on Wednesday however, Muchai and his teammates who assembled at State House to return the national flag to the President refuted the allegations.

“I’m very happy to personally meet the President who is very support of us. What happened during the 5000m final was nobody’s fault.

“They (Rio 2016 officials) changed the call room timing and nobody informed us. We knew that we are going to the field near our village. So we arrived to the right field late that’s why the wanted to deny me the medal,” he sought to clarify.

Sankok had accused officials appointed by the Ministry of ineptitude claiming most were able bodied and insensitive to the needs of disabled athletes, charging some of them drew allowances for the 21 days of the Paralympics programme yet they only stayed for five.

“The race organizers realized that we were not at fault and awarded me the medal. It had nothing to do with officials from the Ministry. All the equipment that we needed was provided too,” Muchai added.

Nancy Chelangat who won 1500m silver echoed her captain’s remarks saying that she only experienced a minor problem with the rope linking her to her guide.

“At one time the race officials would say the rope is too long and at other times said the rope is too short,” she added.

Since returning from Rio, Sankok has sought to compare events at the Paralympics Games to those of the Rio 2016 Olympics fiasco that has seen National Olympics Committee-Kenya officials charged in court.

He strenuously denied he had hired demonstrators to accompany him to EACC headquarters when he was asked to present himself to elaborate his claims where no Team Kenya Paralympics athlete was present.

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Story By Charity Wanja
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