Kirwa bags bronze

43-year-old now turns fo­cus on T.12/T.13 5000m ac­tion on Thurs­day

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports - BY CONSOLATA MAKOKHA @Con­nie_Makokha

Henry Kirwa won bronze in the (T.12/T.13 ) 1,500m race yes­ter­day at the on­go­ing Par­a­lympics in Rio.

Kirwa, a triple gold medal­ist at the Bei­jing Par­a­lympics ( 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m), clocked a new per­sonal best of 3:49.59 to fin­ish third be­hind Ab­del­latif Baka of Al­ge­ria, who won gold in new world record time of 3:48.29.

Ethiopia’s Tamiru De­misse took sil­ver in 3:48.49. The pre­vi­ous world record mark of 3:48.84 was set by Kenya’s David Korir at 2012 Lon­don Par­a­lympic Games.

Korir missed out on the 2016 Par­a­lympics qual­i­fiers but trav­eled to Rio as a run­ning guide. This is Kenya’s third medal at the games, af­ter Team Kenya cap­tain Sa­muel Mushai and Wil­son Bii won gold and bronze re­spec­tively in the (T.11 ) 5,000m race. Kirwa, 43, will be chas­ing for gold in the (T.12/ T.13 ) 5,000m on Thurs­day as he seeks to im­prove his 2012 Lon­don Par­a­lympics po­si­tion (sil­ver) in 5,000m.

Else­where, Mushai is set to de­fend his (T.11 ) 1,500m ti­tle and world record to­mor­row at the on­go­ing Rio Par­a­lympics. He will be joined by Bii in the fi­nal.

Mushai, guided by James Boit, won his heat in 4:04.50; 6.13 shy of his world record of 3:58.37 set in the 2012 Lon­don Par­a­lympics. This is Mushai’s sea­sons best too.

He was drawn in the same pool with his bit­ter ri­val, the Lon­don Par­a­lympics sil­ver medal­ist Odiar San­tos of Brazil, who clocked 4:05.34 to fin­ish se­cond and also set his sea­son’s best.

In the slow­est heat ( 3 ), Bii with his part­ner Be­nard Korir won in 4:13.20 and qual­i­fied as the group win­ner.

Kenya’s third force Erick Sang, who was ini­tially drawn in heat one didn’t turn up for the race. Semih Deniz won the first heat in 4:11.75 to di­rectly book a place in the fi­nals.

San­tos gets an­other chance to chal­lenge Mushai in the T.11 1,500m fi­nal, ad­vanc­ing as a best loser. Heat win­ners and the next three fastest ath­letes qual­ify for the fi­nal.

The other two fi­nal­ists are Cana­dian Ja­son Dunker­ley with run­ning part­ner Josh Karanja who clocked 4:14.99 and Ja­panese Wada Shinya and his guide Nataka Takashi who posted 4:1612.

/ COUR­TESY

Kenya’s bronze medal­ist Henry Kirwa at the medal cer­e­mony along­side sil­ver win­ner (R) Tamiru De­misse of Ethiopia and new cham­pion Ab­del­latif Baka of Al­ge­ria.

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