Windhoek-It has been ten months since Namibian paralympian athletes Ananias Shikongo and Johannes Nambala brought back medals from the Rio Paralympic Games in Brazil last August.
Although the athletes were well received by the nation and received tremendous support and incentives from corporate Namibia, the pair never had an opportunity to offcially present their medals to President Hage Geingob.
A major sports enthusiast Geingob welcomed the athletes at State House on Friday, praising them for a remarkable feat at the Paralympic Games. He said the government was well aware of what the athletes are achieving and said he appreciates the hard work and effort they have put in to win medals for their beloved land of the brave.
He added that not only monetary rewards count, but hoisting the national flag and singing the national anthem at such a global showpiece is what patriotic should Namibians do. In terms of rewarding the sporting heroes, Geingob said they were looking at ways government can assist, even under current financial constraints.
“Consultations will be done through the portfolio ministry and Sports Commission to establish principles on how to honour them,” the president said.
He noted that times have changed from the days when Namibia’s first prominent international athletes were rewarded monetarily by government, as all kinds of variables have come into play. The president suggested the athletes should be a little patient, as they are competing mainly to display their skills and talents and to be honoured.
At the same occasion, coach Michael Hamukwaya said it was a good gesture to be recognised and welcomed to State House, while the invited athletes were over the moon to interact with President Geingob, a gesture that has given them much motivation to perform even better, knowing that Geingob is always watching with an eagle eye.
The athletes are preparing for the upcoming World Athletic Championships, slated for the 9th of next month in London, with the ultimate goal of breaking world records. Both Shikongo and Nambala are favourites to claim medals in London – it is only the colour of the medals that remains to be determined at the championships.