Despite shining in a local qualifier in the T47 class, where he beat the standard time, Ochen was dropped.
ALL AFRICA PARALYMPICS
Ugandan Paralympic athlete Francis Ochen’s dream of breaking Brazil’s Petrucio Ferreira dos Santos' 100m world record (10.57 seconds) has hit a dead-end.
Ochen was dropped off the Ugandan team that is set to compete in the All Africa Paralympic Games in Morocco. The competition will run from February 24 until March 1.
Dos Santos is the current world record holder in the T46/47 class.
Athletes in the T46 class have a single below or above the elbow amputation. For the T47 class, competitors have a below the elbow or wrist amputation. Ochen falls under the T47 category.
Despite shining in a local qualifier in the T47 class, where he beat the standard time, Ochen was dropped, with officials on the team claiming they were not sure of his classification.
Ochen has a deformity on his right hand, with no fingers, which limits movement in his hand at the wrist, as indicated in a World Para Medical Diagnostic Athletics form signed by Dr. Chris Nakholi from the Parents Clinic in Njeru early this year.
“They told me I am not classified, but I was classified as a T47 by doctors in Mpigi before the qualifier," said the athlete.
"So I’m disappointed because I wanted to break the 100m world record,” said Ochen, who run 11.55 in the qualifier.
“But they have told me that I might get another opportunity to travel to Tunisia in March,” said the Lords Meade Vacation Center-Njeru student.
According to team coach Jemson Ssenkungu, qualifying for the 2020 Olympics is top of the agenda for the team of 11 that travelled with six officials, including National Paralympic Committee president Mpindi Bumali.
“Winning medals will be an added advantage but qualifying for Tokyo is most important,” said Ssenkungu.
World Para Athletics Champion David Emong is among the 11 athletes.
Others are: Al Bashir Bwaga, Monica Ilalo, Fred Masisa, Abdu Karim Lubega, Alex Lagu, Peace Oroma, Wilfred Ocen, Sam Mubajje and Richard Ocira.
Other travelling officials include Joshua Jagalo, Innocent Tumwesigye, Ivan Mugowa and Deo Twesige.