Coach and Vanuatu Paralympic Committee (VPC) Administrator Mary Mahuk has confirmed that Vanuatu has two athletes planned for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo next year, Ken Kahu and Ellie Enock.
According to the former Olympic Athlete and now coach, 21-year-old Ken Kahu has already qualified for the 2021 Tokyo Paralympic Games and is positive that Enock has a fighting chance as well.
“For preparation of Tokyo, we have two athletes, Ken Kahu who has already qualified by his own right to participate and Ellie Ennok is the female athlete which we are trying to get her to qualify,” Mahuk said.
With six months to go, the seated-javelin thrower who lost her left leg at 19 is considering all options of qualifying the VPC Administrator explained: “There are options where we can take videos of the local competitions here and give it to Oceania and they might be chances where they can verify distances and take it as evidence of what she does here, but really she has to qualify competing in a regional or international event to qualify.”
Mahuk who was bestowed the moniker of ‘The Golden Mama’ during her Olympian days knows better than anyone else the thrills of competing for herculean crowds, and wants Enock to experience the same adventure.
“If she doesn’t go as qualified athlete she can go as a wildcard, that’s also an opportunity in Paralympic and Olympic Games as a team mate, she’s very excited and she’s training hard, looking forward to that but circumstances like the pandemic, training hard concentrating but it’s all up to our help department and government.”
Mahuk added that despite the border closure, competing at world events such as the Olympic and Paralympic Games is important for the athletes and country which creates more opportunities.
“It is very important because, as a member in the Paralympian committee they have to participate and if there are any funding’s that come through Oceania to access those opportunities that Paralympic gives to all the regions in the world, pacific is one of them, VPC and Oceanic Paralympic committee that is based in Australia.”
Currently Enock is working closely with VASANOC and local expert coaches to prepare her for a potential qualifying competition prior to the Paralympic Games.
“We are working with our expert coaches in Vanuatu and important necessities that goes to make a champion like nutrition, strength and conditioning,” the Golden Mama said.
Prequalification Closes in May, Recruitment for Paris 2024 already away
President of the Paralympic Committee Margret MacFarlane confirmed that prequalification for the Paralympic Games will close in May, which means that Ennok has six months to qualify.
“Yes, Ken has prequalified but with the borders closed, VPC cannot get Mathias, Marceline and Ellie out to an international competition to pre-qualify, Prequalification closes 27th May 2021.”
The president of VPC added that they are looking for young para-athletes in athletics and table tennis for the Paris Games – “If anyone is interested – go to Korman on Monday Wednesday or Friday to speak to our coaches. We are already starting planning for Paris 2024 Paralympic Games!”
iCount injecting VT1M for Transport Costs
MacFarlane added that the Managing Director of iCount Daniel Agius made a donation of VT1M to assist with the travel costs of the para-athletes during a fundraiser at Nambawan Café last month.
Mr. Agius confirmed that stated that after watching a film at the fundraising event by VPC, he made the decision on the spot to donate and assist the para-athletes.
“The whole of the evening was about raising funds about the purpose of transportation, it was inspiring and we just decided there on the spot to cover the expense that they were looking to from the fundraising,” he said.
After the handing over the handsome to assist in transportation, iCount became the major sponsor of VPC.
“Essentially it was contribute and cover all the Paralympics transport costs for the year, they were looking to raise funds for this and they were having a bit of difficulty raising them so we decided to step forward and cover them all, and in doing so we became the major sponsor Vanuatu Paralympic Committee.”
The Paralympic squad trains every Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays at Korman with VPC’s High Performance Coach Deni Kalenga and assisted by Odie Siro and Mary Estelle Mahuk.