The secretary-general of the Namibian Paralympics Committee (NPC), Michael Hamukwaya, has expressed great satisfaction with the overall mental and physical readiness of Namibian para-athletes in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
Team Namibia will be represented by a total of 15 athletes – most of whom are sprinters – at this year’s Paralympics in Rio, with the glittering opening ceremony having taken place yesterday.
Speaking to New Era Sport from Brazil’s metropolis, Hamukwaya said the country’s para-athletes have settled in well and have been hard at work training since their arrival, adding that most of the athletes in the team have competed at that level before, hence all is expected to go smoothly.
“We’ve been very busy since we arrived and the atmosphere in the camp is very encouraging. As opposed to the usual sightseeing that athletes love so much, our athletes have been training hard and perfecting their skills at our various daily training sessions. So, I can confidently say all our athletes are in good shape and in high spirits,” he said.
The 2016 Summer Paralympics, which marks the 15th edition of the global sport showpiece for athletes with disabilities, officially commenced in Rio de Janeiro yesterday and will run until the September 18 – making it the first Summer Paralympic Games to be held in the host city’s wintertime.
This year’s Games will also mark the first time a South American city hosts the event and only second the southern hemisphere nation to ever host the Games – the first one being Australia which hosted the 2000 Summer Paralympics.
This year’s Games will also see the introduction of two new sports to the Paralympic programme: canoeing and the para-triathlon.
The lead-up to this year’s Paralympics was met with major financial issues in Brazil though that were attributed mainly to tepid sponsor interest and poor ticket sales.
These shortcomings, it was reported, resulted in cuts to volunteer staffing and transport, the re-location of events and the partial deconstruction of Deodoro Olympic Park, but the cuts have not affected the Games themselves.