19 September 2012

Kenya: New Challenge for Paralympian

Paralympics world 1500m (T46) record holder Abraham Tarbei is wants go compete alongside able-bodied athletes in the 3,000m steeplechase.

Tarbei, who won gold and silver medals at the 2012 London Paralympics Games, said running like South African Blade runner Oscar Pistorius, a double amputee, who runs alongside the able athletes in the 400m, has always been his dream.

"If I take you back to when I was starting my career, I used to run the 3,000m steeplechase and even reached the national finals. That dream is not yet over," said Tarbei. "Running in that event is not a new thing to me since I have been following the programme of Kenya steeplechase runners."

"And now that the season is over, I want to go back to the grass roots and train with these steeplechasers, revisit their programmes and I know they will help me like they have always done." "They have allowed me to train with them. Previously, I have been training on my own and joining their training in Kapsabet will surely be of great significance as I seek to achieve my dream," he observed.

"My problem is that I have never been invited to run in the Diamond league and now I will do my training focusing on running in one of those races, I want to make a mark and from there, I will be able to gauge whether I am capable or not," added Tarbei." Meanwhile, Tabei's teammate, Henry Kirwa, who bagged bronze in the 5,000m event has called for early preparations ahead of the 2016 Olympics set for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

"This time round, it will not be easy," said Kirwa. "Some of our opponents have learnt that early preparations are the key to success and they are really focusing on this." He observed that the athlete who won gold in the race, El Amin Chentouf of Morocco, had been camping for two years before the Games.

"We usually go into camp for only three months, which is not enough. We need to go to camp early since being known world over has made us an easy target for our competitors," he added. He also urged other corporates and the government to emulate Safaricom in providing cash incentives to medal winning athletes.

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