Kenya bags another gold medal at Rio Paralympics
Samwel Muchai claimed gold in the T11 men’s 1500m at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Wednesday morning to take Kenya’s medal tally to four.
This was Muchai’s second gold having won the 5,000m race last week on Thursday.
Muchai fended off stiff competition from home boy, Odair Santos to claim top honours in 4 minutes, 03.25 seconds.
Santos, who had won silver in the 5,000m, settled for second place in the early morning race clocking 4minutes, 03.85 seconds. Turkish Deniz Semih, guided by Tan Mohamed, settled for bronze in 4.05.42.
It was, however, a disappointment for Wilson Bii, who finished outside the medal bracket after clocking 4.07.98 to finish fourth.
Muchai, guided by James Boit, began the race at a high speed and maintained his pace even as Santos and Bii breathed down his neck.
Bii, who won bronze in the 5,000m, at one point seemed destined for a similar feat but at the bell and with less than two laps to cover, Muchai and Santos showed him a clean pair of heels and Deniz was also not left behind as each made for the final bend.
On the homestretch, the battle for gold narrowed down to the indefatigable Muchai and the Brazilian, who had spoiled a clean sweep for Kenya in the 5,000m, but Muchai was in no mood to play second fiddle speeding to cross the line before bursting into celebrations.
Muchai’s time of 4.03.25 was his season’s best but it fell short of the world record he set in London in 2012, when he clocked 3.58.37.
Kenya is still in the hunt for more medals in the T12 5,000m where Henry Kirwa will be the country’s flagbearer.
Nancy Chelagat, who failed to qualify for the 200m finals, is also a medal prospect in the T11 women’s 1,500m. Chelagat will take to the track on Wednesday evening to compete in the heats while Kirwa will battle it out in the 5,000m final from 4pm Kenyan time at the same venue.
On thursday, sprinter Henry Nzungi will compete in the 200m heats with an eye trained on the finals. Last week, Nzungi won in the 400m heats only to be barred from competing in the final for lane infringement.
Meanwhile, Team Manager, John Tita expressed optimism that Kenya will win more medals to match the six medals they bagged in London, 2012.