Paralympians slam treatment in echoes of Rio 2016 fiasco

The return of the advance party of Team Kenya to Rio 2016 Paralympics turned into theatre when it was claimed there were more able-bodied members of the contingent who were ignorant of the needs of the disabled athletes. Upon arrival on Thursday night from Brazil, the National Council of Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) chairman Dr. David Ole Sankok alleged massive misuse of funds and negligence of athletes during the Paralympics that echoes the scandal that followed the preceding Rio 2016 Olympics in the same country. “Some officials who went there were just on holiday. They never did anything related to what took them there, meaning it was a holiday. “Others were given per diem which was supposed to cater for their accommodation and food in Rio, but they were still paid more money for the same. The Government does not pay for holidays and we are insisting the officials must return the money,” the animated Sankok, who first raised the alarm when the team was in Brazil a fortnight ago, told reporters at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. “Some of them were there for only five days but have been paid allowances for 21 days. This is corruption of the highest order; bigger than the NYS, Goldenberg or Euro Bond scandals because money and most importantly opportunity for the athletes, has been lost. “It was a chance for our disabled people to go and interact with their colleagues out there, learn new things from them and build the self-belief ,” Sankok complained. He cited the well documented case of negligence where Kenya almost lost its first gold medal won by Samuel Muchai in the men’s 5000M T11 category, for arriving for the event due to lack of due diligence by officials charged with logistics. “It is unfortunate none of the officials from the Ministry was disabled. Therefore, it was difficult to identify with the problems of disabled athletes. “We had no doubt Muchai would win, but the Brazilians appealed to be awarded the gold after their athlete came second claiming the Kenyan arrived at the track late,” he reiterated as he slammed the designated Media Liaison Officer accusing the official of doing nothing to highlight their achievement or woes.   Despite describing the events in Rio as “marginalization, discrimination and stigmatization,” Sankok lauded the performance of the athletes terming it the best in the world. “Our team did extremely well, winning six medals with just nine athletes giving a ratio of 67 percent compared to last month’s Olympics where 85 athletes won 13 medals, which translates to about 14 percent. “We should have done better with more participants but we failed to take them to the Doha, Qatar qualifiers due to lack of funds. I hope the government has learnt though this and will do better next time,” Sankok lamented.

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