Penny Hamunyela makes waves in Russia

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Windhoek

She arrived in far away Russia with the primary aim to advance her academic aspirations of becoming a medical practitioner. But who says one cannot mix studies with sport and social activities? Well there is an old adage that a healthy body creates a healthy mind and this traditional belief has not been wasted.

Russian-based Namibian medical student Penny Hamunyela is not only a bright young woman who has set her sights on becoming a medical doctor – the well-built Hamunyela has also taken her journey in far away eastern Europe to another level.

And while many athletes back in her native land are struggling to cope and compete fiercely with the intensity required on the international stage in various sporting disciplines – Hamunyela is making waves in a sport unknown to many Namibians.

The Namibian student has established herself amongst the best in the competitive polyathlon. She has won several accolades in the process and put Namibia in the spotlight.

Polyathlon is a series of contests or events similar to the athletic decathlon where robots compete to determine the best performers. Each contest is scored based on performance, with the total scores determining the overall winner.

The number of contests in polyathlon may change each year. Contests are designed and selected to have conflicting optimization parameters. For example, finding and pushing targets favour a wide robot but avoiding obstacles favours a narrow robot.

Each contest is fairly simple so that everyone has a chance to compete.  A robot need not compete in every contest but gets zero points for contests not entered.

All of the contests in polyathlon are individual events, individually timed and measured, as opposed to head to head matches.

The time between attempts cannot be determined in advance and depends on the number of competitors and the time they take to complete each contest run, while judges may set a minimum time and/or maximum time that a competitor has to prepare between runs.

Judges have the right to assess penalties and/or assign a DNF for a round to competitors that are not ready to run in a timely manner.

Revealing of Start Direction

Judges are not allowed to reveal the starting direction until all contestants are ready and can select a new start direction for each round of attempts, while failure to complete the course within the allotted time will result in a score of zero.

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