With its foundations firmly built on the morals of equal opportunity and recognising excellence, Disability Sport Namibia (DSN) on Thursday held its 5th annual Recognition Awards Gala Dinner at the Safari Hotel in the capital.
The well attended and glittering ceremony was also blessed with the presence of Deputy Minister of Sport, Youth and National Services Agnes Tjongarero and Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maureen Hinda, as well as various sponsors led by Nampower and MVA Fund.
In total, DSN rewarded 25 athletes and eight coaches for their achievements and overall dedication towards the betterment of disability sport in Namibia over the past year. Amongst the many stars recognised on the night, top performers such as Ananias Shikongo, Johanna Benson and Lahja Ishitile, as well as Special Olympics gold medalist Ruben Gowaseb, led the pack of awardees.
Shikongo was rewarded for his inspiring performance at this year’s All African Games (AAG) in Congo Brazzaville, where he scooped three gold medals and secured a Standard-A qualification time for next year’s Rio Paralympic Games.
Benson this year also continued with her fine form, winning a gold medal at the AAG and in the process also booked her place at this month’s International Paralympics Committee (IPC) World Championship in Doha, Qatar as well as the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Ishitile, another rising star of Namibian Paralympics, also dominated headlines this year, winning a gold medal at the Nedbank Championship in South Africa before clinching another gold and bronze at this year’s AAG. She will also participate at the upcoming IPC World Championships.
Unlike in the past, Special Olympics Namibia (SON) this year claimed its rightful place on the international arena and it is all thanks to one man, Ruben Gowaseb. Not new to the Namibian athletics scene, the veteran Gowaseb surprised all and sundry when he scooped Namibia’s only gold medal at this year’s Special Olympics World Summer Games in the United States. His overall determination and discipline has seen him outshine some elite athletes at local events, such as the Sam Nujoma Marathon and the Old Mutual Victory Race Series.