Kenyan Sporting Dreams


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

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

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 77 seconds

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The Paralympic Games - one of the largest international sporting

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

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physical disabilities from all over Car it estimates are the 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The cost of participation and the specially adapted equipment often

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

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

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London 2012 is Henry Wanyoike, captain of the Kenyan Paralympic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This is from the world championships. For beating the

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Africa for treatment and the nearest spinal rehab unit is in

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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journey he can raise enough money to build a dedicated rehabilitation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 77 seconds

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

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

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

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

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The school, which has produced several athletics champions, has

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been taking part in an Olympic schools twinning project with the

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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first time hearing about the After 48 hours travelling, and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sports club in Harlow runs wheelchair basketball for disabled

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Message I have always been giving to people with disabilities in

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 77 seconds

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

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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.