Kenya at the 2004 Summer Paralympics

Kenya at the
2004 Summer Paralympics
IPC code KEN
NPC Kenya National Paralympic Committee
in Athens
Competitors 16
Ranked 37th
Gold Silver Bronze Total
3 1 3 7
Summer Paralympics appearances

Kenya competed at the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, Greece. Their delegation included 16 athletes, 8 men and 8 women, who won 3 golds, 1 silver and 3 bronze medals. Institutional problems inside Kenyan elite disability sport impact the country's performance at the Paralympic Games.


The Kenyan delegation included 8 men and 8 women.[1][2] The 2004 Games were the ones with the largest number of women representing Kenya in the country's Paralympic history.[2]


A number of factors have impacted the development of elite disability sport in Kenya in this period. One factor was negative cultural attitudes towards people with disabilities in general that made it difficult to participate, even if the athlete had won a Commonwealth Games medal. A second variable was coaching issues. These included poor qualifications for coaches, lack of funding for coaches, inconsistent coaching or coaches having hidden agendas for being involved in para-sport, such as a desire to travel overseas. A third issue was lack of available equipment to train with. Part of this was because of the high cost of specialized equipment. Another part was a desire not to spend money on people with disabilities as they are less worthy of the funding. A fourth issue is that facilities are often not accessible to people with disabilities. Sometimes, venues do not want to let people with disabilities use them. Sometimes, facilities lack accommodations for people with disabilities. A fifth problem was transportation. Transportation around cities is often not handicap accessible, making it difficult for elite athletes to get to training venues. Ethnic favoritism was a sixth problem impacting elite para-sport. There was a perception among elite athletes that the government and sporting officials favored certain ethnic groups. According to one elite athlete, for the 2000 Games, the team was dominated by ethnic Luo. For the 2004 Games, the trend was towards ethnic Kikuyu. In athletics, the preference tended to be towards Kalenjin. The last major issue was lack of financial support for participating in sport at the elite level. More Kenyans would have tried to represent their country at the Paralympic level, but they were unable to afford it despite the desire to do so.[3][4]

The above existed against a broad issue about perceptions in Black Africa about people with disabilities. In many parts of Black Africa, people who have disabilities that include intellectual disabilities, and physical disabilities such as impairments and deformities often face cultural barriers to participation because of attitudes related to their disabilities. These include beliefs that they acquired their disabilities because their parents were witches or they are wizards. Their disability is often seen as a result of a personal failing on their part. As such, there is often tremendous cultural pressure for people with physical disabilities to remain hidden and out of the public eye. In many places, they are perceived to be monsters in need of healing.[3][4][5][6] In a Kenyan context, the "bad blood" of people with disabilities is thought to also impact their families, creating further stigma for the person with the disability.[6]


Kenyan Paralympians won 7 medals, including 3 gold, 1 silver and 3 bronze to finish 37th in the medal table.[7][8][9]


Henry Wanyoike represented Kenya at the 2004 Games. The vision impaired runner set a pair of world records in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres events on his way to winning gold. Despite being one of the most successful Kenyan runners in this period, he received considerably less media attention after the Games than his non-disabled peers.[10] His participation in Athens was in part a result of sponsorship from Standard Chartered Bank, which freed him up to train more.[10]

See also


  1. "Participation Numbers Athens 2004 Paralympic Games". International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
  2. 1 2 Committee, Alexander Picolin, International Paralympic. "IPC Historical Results Archive - Country Web". Retrieved 2016-10-27.
  3. 1 2 "Constraints Experienced by Elite Athletes with Disabilities in Kenya, with Implications for the Development of a New Hierarchical Model of Constraints at the Societal Level - ProQuest". Retrieved 2016-10-27.
  5. Gilbert, Keith; Schantz, Otto J.; Schantz, Otto (2008-01-01). The Paralympic Games: Empowerment Or Side Show?. Meyer & Meyer Verlag. ISBN 9781841262659.
  6. 1 2 Brittain, Ian (2009-09-11). The Paralympic Games Explained. Routledge. ISBN 9781134023417.
  7. "Medal Standings Athens 2004 Paralympic Games". International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
  8. "Kenya Paralympics - Rio 2016 Medals, Athletes & News". Retrieved 2016-10-27.
  9. "Kenya". Rio 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-27.
  10. 1 2 Benchmark (April 28, 2006). "Henry Wanyoike -- Conquering Disability and the World". Star Weekend Magazine (5) (92 ed.). Kenya. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
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