Kenya: Para-Rower Asiya Says Mental Toughness Will Be Key to Her Tokyo 2020 Campaign

25 August 2021

Tokyo — Kenyan para-rower Asiya Mohamed believes psychology and mental toughness will be a crucial facet to her Paralympic Games campaign in Tokyo, Japan.

Multi-talented Asiya will compete on Friday in the PR1 Women's Single Sculls at the Sea Forest Waterway and she revealed that she is determined to demonstrate consistency, focus, confidence and manage pressure in her bid to making her impression felt in the Japanese Capital.

"I am mentally prepared for now and somehow unfazed with what to expect from my adversaries," Asiya said on Wednesday after conducting her second and last training at the competition venue.

She went on to explain that she worked on her mental toughness during her visit to Portugal where she attended intensive training ahead of the postponed Tokyo 2020 Games.

Even though she acknowledged the challenged that will come from Europe, Asiya, who is the only Africa representative in the competition said she is aiming to advance into the Final A and avoid the repechage where the best of the best will be assured of medals.

"I know my opponents are more experienced and tougher but I will try not to be a loser to them. I will fight to the very end. Final B to me is not an option. My starts and finishes have not been that impressive though, but I also possess some knack for endurance. My strong point is in the middle of the race, so let's see how Tokyo waters and opponents will play out," Asiya beamed with confidence.

Her longest training stunt was between May and July in Portugal. In August she savored a taste of Mombasa waters and now Japan where she is putting final touches to her preparations.

"Portugal was for techniques and learning how to stick to the line. As you well know, in a race situation, you are required to stick to your designated line to the very end so this is one aspect I believe I have mastered well in time," she said.

The two-day training has enabled Asiya to familiarize herself with the new boat, having not gotten the opportunity to train with in in Kenya.

"In Portugal we grasped vital tips on alignment of the boat and techniques in general."

She explains that Mombasa training was to essentially perfect her knack for power and endurance.

"The Portuguese cuisine is a bit different from the usual ugali we consume back home. So, with Ugali in the coast it was just power training."

"Now I can combine power and technics in Portugal and this is what I'm coming with in Japan."

"My first session in Tokyo was basically to get to know the boat better and see how good it suits my body and skill. The boat looks good for now as the first session is basically to make adjustments to one's convenience."

-Coach Optimistic of medal-

Team Kenya's Para-Rower head coach Joshua Kendagor has also exuded confidence in the run up to action proper on Friday.

Kendagor says she is currently working on final touches well in time for the race.

"We are working on perfecting the starting procedures. Asiya is not a slow learner. She is picking up really well." Kendagor went on.

The coach told Capital Sport in Tokyo that the boat they used in Mombasa was not the same as what she practices with in Europe and Japan.

"The current boat is more or less the same as what was used in Portugal so she is coming along well prior to the race. The boat suits her body size really well and I hope we will get sponsors to invest in similar equipment back home going forward."

"We are counting down to Friday with great expectations. She is strong and feeling good going into the race and our aim is for her to go all the way to the finals."

Kendagor noted that the summer situation in Japan is a bit tougher than Mombasa but not much of a difference though.

"The waves in the Indian Ocean in Mombasa are somewhat similar to what we are seeing here so fingers crossed for now," Kendagor said in finality.

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