WINDHOEK - After the efforts by Namibians at the 2012 London Olympics failed to yield any medals - the country’s last hopes will now rest firmly on the shoulders of the Paralympic team heading to London on the 27th of this month.
“We are highly motivated and personally, my dream has come true to be able to compete in the Paralympics. It’s different from the regular Olympics, because we have to qualify 3 times as opposed to one qualification that able-bodied Olympians have to go through. Because of that, I’m determined to win a gold medal for Namibia. Be aware,” said a confident Martin Amutenya who specializes in the 200 and 400-metre sprints.
Amutenya was speaking at the sponsorship ceremony at the NamPower headquarters where the national utility company handed over a whopping N$700 000 sponsorship to Disability Sport Namibia (DSN).
Statistically, a competitive wheelchair for the wheelchair racing event costs a staggering N$32 000, while shoes for weightlifter Ruben Soroseb alone will leave DSN N$14 000 poorer.
“We need to make sure our athletes are well taken care of both financially and morally, hence we should be behind them,” encouraged Deputy Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, Pohamba Shifeta.
Charles Nyambe, President of DSN, reiterated that the donation would help assist not only Paralympics, but also Special Olympics Namibia who both fall under the same umbrella body.
“It is a very costly exercise for people living with disabilities to compete in any sports and this is why we need to increase awareness among our people and all stakeholders. There are more than 3 000 recognized athletes living with disabilities in Namibia, so you can imagine what that means as far as training and developing them into competitive Paralympians,” Nyambe said.
A relatively small contingent of five athletes will represent Namibia at this year’s edition of the Paralympics and as the Namibian Olympic team prepares to return home from its ill-fated participation in the 2012 London Olympics - all hopes will be pinned on the Paralympians who have worked hard to secure their places at the multi-sports Games in London.
The Namibian Paralympics team consists of: Ananias Shikongo (100, 200 and 400m), Martin Amutenya (200 and 400m), Johanna Benson (100, 200m and Long Jump); Reginald Benade (Shotput and Discus), Ruben Soroseb (Powerlifting) and Even Tjiviju (Guide).
Team management urged all stakeholders to purchase tables for the team’s fundraising Gala Dinner at the Safari Court Hotel in Windhoek tonight, starting at 19h00 sharp.