Port Elizabeth-Namibian Para-athletes won 17 medals at the South African Disability National Sport Championships in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The South Africa Sport Association for the Physically Disabled and Visually Impaired (SASAPD) championships started Sunday and ended yesterday.
The competition was used by Namibian athletes as a qualifier for the 2017 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletics World Championships to be held in London in June and the IPC Athletics Junior World Championships to be held in Switzerland in August.
Team Namibia won 13 gold medals and four silvers. On the opening day of the games, the team won four medals – all gold. On day two, the team won eight more medals – five gold and three silver – while on the last day of the championships the team collected five more medals of which four were gold and one silver.
Johanna Benson, Lahja Ishitile, Eliakim Ameinge, Abraham Hafenanye, Eino Mushila and Moses Tobias won the gold medals during the three-day competition. Benson, Moses, Ameinge and Hafenanye also won the team’s silver medals.
They won the gold and silver medals in the T11 100m, 200m and 400m, T37 100m, 200m and 400m, T13 100m, 200m and 400m and the T12 800m and 1500m.
Speaking to Nampa after the championships, head coach of the Namibia Paralympic team Richard Goreseb said he was overwhelmed by the athletes’ achievements. He said athletes who have already qualified for the World Athletics Championships like Ishitile and Benson can now start preparing for the competition.
“They worked as a team despite competing in different events. I now call on all the coaches to continue doing what they have been doing in the different regions as it has paid off at this competition,” he said.
Namibia Paralympic Committee official Memory Kahlari said credit should be given to NamPower for making the trip a success.
“We really appreciate what NamPower has been doing for us. They sponsored the whole trip including fuel, accommodation and food for the athletes and officials. If we did not have this assistance the team would not have been here to compete,” she said.
Six athletes competed in track events and three in boccia – a precision ball sport contested by athletes with severe physical disabilities. Mushila, Tobias, Ameinge, Hafenanye, Benson and Ishitile competed in the track events with guides Sydney Kamuaruuma and Mahmad Bock, while Lihanda van der Smit, Andreas Shoombe and Salome April competed in boccia. – Nampa