• Jamal Vira (VASANOC)

Ken Kahu signs as Ministry of Youth and Sport Ambassador

Minister for Youth Development & Sport, Francois Chani, welcomed para javelin thrower and flag bearer for Team Vanuatu at the Samoa Pacific Games, Ken Kahu, as the Ministry’s Sports Ambassador earlier this week.

Kurt Fearnley, Australian Paralympian who recently visited Vanuatu, called upon his corporate audience at the Vanuatu Paralympic Gala dinner to look within their organisation to see if roles could be found for not only parathletes but other people living with a disability. It was a call that Minister Chani and Henry Vira Director General of the Ministry of Youth and Sport not only heeded but took direct action on!

“I want other young Ni-Vanuatu to be inspired by Ken’s story of how a young man, facing very serious challenges in his life never gave up hope but worked hard to make the best of any opportunities that came his way to improve his life and to achieve his goals,” remarked Minister Chani. “I went to see the parathletes and para-coaches participating in the Nippon Sports Science University (NSSU) Throwing Clinic at Korman last week.

“I myself came away excited, inspired and enthused with the courage and determination of the parathletes living their lives faced with adversity, lack of education and work opportunities as well as community and social misunderstanding of their abilities.

“This is the power of sport – to not just transform the life of one young man but to inspire a nation.

Mr Kahu was forced out of school at Year 8 when his family could no longer afford to pay his school fees. Kahu felt his life was pointless – no school, no training, no job. Becoming involved in para sport has changed Ken’s life and his prospective career. Already he has travelled to the Arafura Games in Darwin, Australia in April 2019; the Pacific Games in July; in September Ken and his coach travelled to Tokyo, Japan for a coaching clinic and in three weeks’ time he will travel to the World Athletics Championships in Dubai.

It was at the Arafura Games where Kahu threw over 47 meters to be ranked Number 4 in the entire world in his classification, that riveted global attention. This distance automatically qualified him for the Tokyo Paralympic Games in September 2020. At the recent Oceania Throwing Clinic at Korman Stadium with 32 coaches and athletes as witnesses, Kahu threw 49.15 meters in an unofficial trial – a throw that augurs well for the Dubai World Championships.

“With further training, a proper run up and core strength and conditioning work, I predict Ken will be throwing in excess of 50 meters very soon – a really competitive length for medal success,” remarked Chris Nunn, Australian Olympic, Paralympic and Invictus Games coach supporting the training for coaches and athletes at the Throwing Clinic.

With this new role as a Sports Ambassador, Kahu will now have the dignity of financial independence through paid work – a dream that many young people living with an impairment aspire to but cannot achieve through lack of opportunity and community attitudes.

The Youth and Sport Ambassador will also have opportunities to speak at schools, community groups and workshops to tell his personal story and continue to excite, enable and inspire.

Source: Daily Post

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