Henry Wanyoike, a totally blind runner from Kenya , has many world records and gold medals to his credit. These include three gold medals at the Sydney and Athens Paralympics and world record at the marathon for the visually disabled, held in Boston, 2004.
Born : May 10 1974
Henry Wanyoike, of Kenya, is an accomplished athlete. He started his training as an athlete at the age of 12, when he had regular vision. In 1995, Wanyoike suffered a minor stroke that damaged his optic nerve and led to loss of sight. A German counsellor advised him that he could still run with a guide. Then started his career as an athlete, by first representing his school in 1999 and then running in marathons and international championships.
Wanyoike runs with his track guide and long time friend, Joseph Kibunja. A short strap is attached to Wanyoike 's wrist; the other end of which is held by Kibunja, who must run a little behind him, to avoid disqualification. Wanyoike won his first gold medal in the 5,000 metres at the Sydney Paralympics in 2000. Thereafter his athletic career scaled great heights. Some of his other major accomplishments include: breaking the w orld record and winning gold medal at a blind marathon in Japan in 2002, winning gold medals for the 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres races at the World Blind Championship, Quebec, Canada in August 2003 and victory in the Boston Marathon, 2003. Wanyoike also finished fourth overall in the Mumbai Marathon in February 2004.
At the 2004 Athens Paralympics, he bagged the gold and broke the world record in 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres. On April 17, 2005 he set a new world record of two hours, 32 minutes and 51 seconds in the London Marathon and only a week later in Hamburg he sliced another 80 seconds off the same record.
Wanyoike is also a respected philanthropist. He has set up the Henry Wanyoike Foundation and is involved with various international organisations such as the Christoffel Blindenmission, Bensheim, and Light for the World, for creating awareness on disability in Africa and developed countries. He is also a Goodwill Ambassador for the Standard Chartered Bank's campaign for reducing blindness in the world.