What you need to know:
- Neema said she is also hoping to qualify for the 2024 Paralympics in athletics.
Kenyan para athletes Stency Neema and Julieta Lemuge have qualified for the 2024 Paralympic Games without throwing a punch or kick at the African Olympic Qualifiers in Dakar, Senegal on Friday night, on the day five other Kenyans were locked out for late arrival.
Multi-talented Neema, who is also good in sprints and badminton, qualified for the quadrennial event from the Women Under-52 kilogrammes as Lemuge punched her ticket from Women U-57kg.
Both did not get opponents in their categories and thus won gold medals without competing.
“I’m so happy to qualify for the Paralympic Games. I thank God for it,” Neema told Nation Sport on Saturday morning.
Neema said she is also hoping to qualify for the 2024 Paralympics in athletics.
Meanwhile, the second batch of taekwondo athletes arrived in Dakar on Friday evening.
It comprised players Moses Mututi, Moses Obara, Innocent Wafula, Peter Kabani, Joseph Owino and Patrick Lolkalepi, coaches Philip Khaemba, John Kamotho and Edna Sichangi and team doctor Imanyara.
“The Olympic qualifiers have a very high stake in competing nations. Any slight technical error is used by the opponent to lock you out. So far three para athletes and two able-bodied athletes from Kenya have been locked out due to late arrivals,” said Kenya Taekwondo Federation chairman Suleiman Sumba without giving the names of the affected players.
“I am on a flight now going to Senegal. I remained behind pushing for funds, but unfortunately the process was not completed until probably on Monday or Tuesday when the team will be coming back. Otherwise, we thank the Government and National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) for the support so far given though it was not timely,” noted Sumba.
Kenya’s first batch left for Dakar on Thursday at 4.30am via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and arrived around 4.50pm on the same day.
It consisted of Olympian Faith Ogallo as well as Jully Musangi, Neema and Lemuge, coach Gerald Marangu and team manager George Wasonga.