Kenya risks missing out on the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games track and field events.
This is after the team pulled out of the International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships cum Rio 2016 qualifiers that began in Doha, Qatar Thursday.
The team had qualified for the competition after an impressive performance in the African Championship held in Tunisia last March bagging four gold, four silver and three bronze medals.
Kenya Paralympics Committee (KPC) chair Agnes Oluoch said the team failed to travel after the government declined to release funds despite approving the budget which was given to the Ministry of Sports before the team left for the African Games held last month in Brazzaville.
“The government through the Ministry of Sports received our budget of Sh8 million and even approved it but when we went to the Ministry on Monday we were told there was no money and even barred from seeing the Principal Secretary, “Oluoch said.
The money was to cover the travel expenses and accommodation for 19 athletes.
“None of our athletes had qualified for Rio and this Championship was an important event for us to compete, qualify and test ourselves before the Olympics,” she added. The country now risks missing out on the Paralympics Games for the first time since 1976.
PERSUADE THE ASSEMBLY
Oluoch urged the government to assist the body send a representative to next month’s General Assembly meeting in Mexico to persuade the assembly to allow Kenya attend next year’s Games based on their performances in Tunisia and the African Games.
Over 1,300 athletes from 100 countries will do battle in several track and field events during the week-long championship as they seek slots for next year’s Paralympic Games set for September.
National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) Secretary General FK Paul challenged the government to honour its responsibilities of supporting teams headed to international events.
“We cannot do anything as NOC-K because it is the work of the government to facilitate the Paralympic teams and it is sad that a team which such potential will miss the Games,” the official said. In July this year, Kenya Under-19 rugby team failed to take part in the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa due to lack of funds.