Kenyan Sporting Dreams

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Kenyan Sporting Dreams

Four-time Olympic gold medallist Matthew Pinsent travels to east Africa to look at the impact of the Paralympic Games in Kenya, and how disability is perceived there.

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magnificent. From one box to the other. Rooney! That is absolutely


fantastic. Rooney, he has scored! This is Wayne Rooney, with many


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The Paralympic Games - one of the largest international sporting


Running alongside the Olympics, the Paralympics are open to people with


physical disabilities from all over Car it estimates are the 2012


Paralympic Games will be the most popular in history but it still has


some way to go to rival the Olympic Games. Take Kenya as a country, for


example. Everybody can name their middle and long-distance runners


from history, Kip Keino, David Rudisha, but did you also know


Kenya has produced 36 Paralympic medallist? I am ashamed to say I


cannot name a single one. So I'm off to find out more about some of


those who've been inspired by the Paralympics in Kenya, and to see


what opportunities it can provide. I meet the man wheeling himself


across Africa to raise money for Kenya's first spinal rehab centre.


I catch up with blind runner and four times Paralympic medallist,


Henry Wanyoike. And I join polio survivor and schoolboy Alex, as he


prepares to leave his village and travel all the way to London to see


I touch down in the capital, Nairobi, where I'm met by my guide,


Ibrahim Wafula. Hello, nice to meet you. Last time I was in Nairobi I


came with my father. I was -- it was 20 years ago. It is very


different now. I can hardly remember it. It does look different.


Taxi drivers are crazy. Wafula or One Leg' as he likes to be known is


something of a legend in Nairobi. He lost his leg in a car accident


when he was seven years old, and taught himself to drive by pressing


his crutch onto the accelerator! Today his taxi is automatic, and he


negotiates Nairobi's traffic with ease. Do you find the people you


pick up in your taxi are disabled? No, I pick up everybody. They like


me because if they need me they'd call me, one leg, where you?


says the best way to seek Nairobi isn't on four wheels, it's on to. -


- two. For Wafula is also a competitive cyclist. In his first


race he finished 20th, out of 200 able-bodied cyclists. He went on to


win the disabled category in the Nairobi cycling marathon, and he


How do you feel when you're cycling around? First of all, really happy,


because I feel like I have another leg. Because bike is my transport.


I feel happy. Was it ever your dream to go to the Paralympics as a


UN to Colombia to race. For the championship. You have to qualify.


Do you watch the parapet on TV? -- Paralympics. It makes me happy. I


never give up, because I know one day if I get the support I will go.


Wafula's determination is clear to see. But his story is all too


The cost of participation and the specially adapted equipment often


required can make it hard for people in the developing world to


Thank you. You're welcome. You are But one man who has qualified for


London 2012 is Henry Wanyoike, captain of the Kenyan Paralympic


Team. Henry lost his sight after suffering a stroke 17 years ago.


Now, his running partner Joseph is Hi, Matthew. Nice to meet you. And


I caught up with Henry as he limbered up for the Parkland Sports


Club half marathon. How fast are you going to run today? We've never


done this course so we are going to see where we need to polish.


Muggins was given the honours of The runners set off at a fair lick.


I ran the London marathon in 2011 in just over four hours. These guys


were on track to run today's half marathon in just over an hour. No


comparison! So this is the halfway point. We're expecting the runners


to get here anytime they have to get a stamp and retrace their steps.


They have to prove they have been here. They go back that way to the


Henry was the only blind runner competing in the race. He's linked


to Joseph's wrist by a short piece of string, and Joseph describes the


course to Henry as they go along letting him know if there's an


uphill, downhill or water stop Well done. We reckon he reached the


turn in about 45 minutes, maybe 40 minutes. That's quite good. He is


on for a good time. The winner had already crossed the finish line in


one hour and eight seconds. If Henry's previous track record was


anything to go bike I knew he couldn't be far behind. Henry set


the world records for the marathon and half marathon in Sydney, he won


gold in the 10K and 5K in Athens, and won a further bronze in Beijing.


Now though, the target is London. How was it? It was good. One hour,


18, that is great. For a course you didn't know. Do you both get


certificates? You they deserve them. After my first victory in Sydney,


my life began to change, because I was now able to accept myself fully.


I was now able to know there were so many things I could do. And now,


with my friend Joseph, my eyes, we've been able to compete in able-


bodied marathons like Hong Kong, and win Sports Personality of the


This is from the world championships. For beating the


world record. And this is from For Zack Kimotho, change isn't


coming quickly enough, and he's leaving Kenya to try to get


treatment for his disability elsewhere. I'm going to see if I


can catch up with him! I have read about his story and it has got me


grip. He is taking himself from Nairobi to South Africa, 4,000


kilometres, he has been going for one month and he has done 200 so


far. This will take years of his life. The reason it is taking so


long is he is doing it in a wheelchair. He is going to South


Africa for treatment and the nearest spinal rehab unit is in


South Africa, and on the way he wants to raise money to try and


build one for Kenyans here in Nairobi. So that other people don't


have to travel so far for the same We are looking for somebody called


Zack in a wheelchair? Have you seen him? I have stopped off in a


roadside town to ask if anybody has seen him. I think we will carry on,


have a further look down this way. The remark on the website is that


he has done 200 kilometres and we haven't quite done that. He passed


here three weeks ago. Do you know where he is now? He is on the road,


going from Nairobi. You have heard of him. South Africa. You have


heard of him. Two weeks ago. They have definitely seen him,


definitely means he is further that That looks like him. Definitely a


Got to be him. Hello. How are you? I am good. How has it been so far?


Good, challenging, but rewarding. You see people coming out to


support you. Zach was working as a veterinary surgeon in Nairobi in


2004 when he became the victim of a vicious car-jacking. The bullet


entered and it cut across my spine to decide. Things are happening,


and happening fast. Somebody in front of the bonnet, somebody


telling me to move and a guy shot. Kenya has one of the highest rates


of spinal injury cases in the world. Zack is hoping through his epic


journey he can raise enough money to build a dedicated rehabilitation


centre in Nairobi. He's already raised half a million pounds. His


target is two million. What's the traditional attitude to a disabled


person in Kenya? Unfortunately, when somebody has a disability at


home, people want to hide it. They think people have been cursed with


misfortune. All bewitched. They don't want to come muck. It becomes


quite a problem. We want to cut that stigma, this one of hiding


people. What do you know of the Paralympics? What do they mean in


Kenya? Unfortunately for us we just look at the Olympics and


immediately you say "para", people don't seem to have the hype. It's a


big challenge. Knowing these other Is this normal speed? Yes, this is


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It is always pulling to the left Some 300 miles away in the


foothills of Mount Elgon, another young man is preparing to make the


trip of a lifetime - all the way to London to watch the Paralympics.


21-year-old Alex is in his final year at Bishop Okiring Secondary.


The school, which has produced several athletics champions, has


been taking part in an Olympic schools twinning project with the


BBC and British Council called World Class. After filming at the


school for World Class, we were so inspired by Alex's story we invited


him to visit London with his head- teacher to see what the Paralympics


are all about. It was one morning the teacher told me that we're


going to the Kisumu to apply for The journey is poignant, as Alex


had polio as a child and walks with a stick. He struggles around the


muddy tracks near his school and he has barely left his village before.


Today he is shopping for supplies for the trip with his head teacher.


You must be Alex. Yes. How are you? I feel like I know you, I have


watched your film. I'm very happy. Do you know why? Come on? I'm going


to London. I know that. And you got a pass port? Yes. It is a big


challenge? Can you see it. This is you. It is wonderful. You had to


get a birth certificate and all the forms filled in and now this is


yours. Yes. Very shiny. Alex was three years old when he contracted


polio. The virus left Alex's left leg deformed and his right arm with


little use. At the time, there was no access to the polio vaccine in


his village. If there had been it might have been a different story


for Alex. Kenya is currently polio- free, but there are still children


who haven't had the vaccine. Alex and I headed along to the Health


Centre in Kimilili, to meet some of them. As part of the latest health


drive, Martha and her team are aiming to innoculate 500 more


children over the next five days. One of those can do six or eight


children with one? 20 doses in one vial? OK. It has to be kept cool?


Cool all of the time. We mark on the left index finger with this pen.


So it has to go slightly above the skin. Alex helped mark each child's


finger to show they had the vaccine. Is they don't repeat it. When you


were young, you didn't have that innoculation. Yes. How does that


make you feel. If I had been given the vaccine, I think my life would


have been a different one. I would be somewhere some place working


as... And acquiring my own... My own needs. But as from now, because


things have gone like that... I'm afraid that maybe God has a purpose


over my life. What school, what is your dream? Your mum's farmer. You


have come from a very rural village. And a poor backgrounds, yes.


tell me after school, what is going to happen in in your life, what is


your dream? My dream in my life, I'm dreaming to be to be a lawyer.


That is my dream. Have you heard about the Paralympics? It is my


first time hearing about the After 48 hours travelling, and


Alex's first trip in an aeroplane, he arrived in London with his head


teacher. Alex and Naboth couldn't wait to see the city for themselves.


Alex, how was the flight? My flight was very nice! Now you're in London.


You like the look of it so far? We have decided the best way to see


London and understand the going if I and the history is one of these


buses to have a journey rounds. Thank you. This is the beginning of


the houses of Parliament. It looks like a cave. Like a cast snl Yes.


At the other end that is Big Ben, the clock. The famous clock. Wow!


That is great. With just a couple of days to go before the opening of


the Paralympic Games, there was one thing Alex wanted to do more than


ever - and that was to have a go at some Paralympic sports. Mark Hall


Sports club in Harlow runs wheelchair basketball for disabled


Neither I nor Alex had played before, and Alex seemed to be more


What is wrong with that? One of the club's star members is Anne Wafula.


Born in a village not far from Alex's home in Kenya, Anne also had


polio as a child. She went on to become the first East African to


compete in wheelchair racing at the Paralympics in Athens, and now


races for Great Britain. I don't want you to call yourself a victim.


You should look at yourself as a survivor. You have survived polio


to be here now. As a survivor, Alex, you should be looking for


opportunities, not sympathy from the community. Now you need to tell


your community that I am Alex and this is what I'm capable of, this


is what I do. So therefore, give me the opportunity and I will show you


what I can give to the community. This is swimming. Up that way is


basketball. Tonight we have got tickets to go into the stadium.


That white building there. Final think moment which Alex had been


waiting for. Fantastic. Before we go in, there is one person I want


you to meet. Who is that? Come this way. Henry. How are you this is


Matthew again. This is Alex. I don't think you have met Alex


before. What do you feel when you're competing? Do you feel like


you are so exhausted and tired. me tell you Alex it's a good


feeling when you're in such a big competition like the Paralympics


like now in London. What can you advise people with disability in


Kenya, because they're also suffering and yet we're enjoying is


here. What can your advise our friends who are disabled in Kenya.


Message I have always been giving to people with disabilities in


Kenya is that they need to accept themselves. They also need to not


feel shy about their disability. When you're open and when you have


a positive minds, people are willing to support and you must go


for your dream. Because you cannot see the way for success to come and


look for you and go for that success. And you work hard and you


keep focused and you... Then you have that determination and you


should not give up easily. May I wish you good luck in your marathon.


I will do my best. I will remember you when I will be running. Thank


you. Thank you. So Alex, two important things. One you will need


a ticket. Thank you. Second, I have got the camera to take some good


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shots for your photo album. Let's It has been fantastic for us. To


Four-time Olympic gold medallist Matthew Pinsent travels to east Africa to look at the impact of the Paralympic Games in Kenya, and how disability is perceived there. He meets Henry Wanyoike - a blind runner who is captain of the Kenyan Paralympic team - along with paracyclist Ibrahim Wafula, and Zack Kimotho, who is travelling all the way from Nairobi to South Africa in his wheelchair to raise money to build a spinal rehabilitation centre in Kenya.

Matthew also catches up with Alex, a 21-year-old who is in his final year at school in Mount Elgon and who uses a stick to get around after suffering from polio as a child. Until recently, Alex had never heard of the Paralympics. But through the BBC schools project, World Class, he is leaving his village for the very first time to travel all the way to London to see the Paralympics for himself.