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Countdown to the Paralympics with Kingsley


06 Aug 2021 | Emma Benham

“Some days I am in disbelief over what is about to happen”. Kingsley is counting down the days until he departs for Tokyo to compete in the 2021 Olympic Games. His boat is already in Japan and, as of Friday this week, he goes into isolation for ten days before departing. Just one more time trial to compete before the end of the week and no doubt it will be another PB. His last was only 15 seconds away from the world record so Kingsley knows that physically and mentally he is ready.

 “Some days I am in disbelief over what is about to happen”

“I’m feeling very positive, this has been such a long time coming, my flights are booked and now it’s just organising everything to ship.” As an amateur competing in the Games, Kingsley doesn’t have an army of people around him to administer and organise the logistics, instead it is him, his girlfriend and his coaching team getting all the equipment out to Japan as well as booking and organising, flights, testing and transport. It’s a lot to weave into training sessions and knowing the expectations of an entire country are on your shoulders. However, for Kingsley he states that it’s all part of the experience!

“I’m the fittest I’ve ever been in my rowing career, I record and track every rowing session to ensure I know the muscle groups to work, the mindset to keep, the endurance focus needed; it’s all part of my DNA now.”

Kingsley is just itching to get out to Japan, to once again train in his boat, which is already in the country and to dress in his, self-designed kit, proudly wearing the colours of the Kenyan flag. Despite not having his friends and family in the crowd Kingsley knows they will all be cheering him on from their homes. “It’s amazing how everyone in Marlow now knows who I am. Our club has over 20k members and everyone I meet is wishing me luck, there is a real sense of community.”

Despite competing as an assisted rower for several years a recent comment from a fellow assisted rower really touched Kingsley and brought home the impact of qualifying for the Games. “My good friend said that since I qualified everyone has treated the assisted rowers differently and are seen as equal to the able-bodied rowers and true athletes in their own right. For me that really hit home. I had no idea people felt this way I was just focusing on what I do but if I can help inspire assisted rowers or get people into the sport that previously didn’t think they could do it then I’ve already won.”

With just days until he leaves for Tokyo Kingsley is remaining focused and when we wished him the best of luck he said,

“Don’t wish me luck, wish me the power to remember everything I know and have learned over these past months, that’s what I need, not luck.”