By John Tuerijama
WHY is it that there are no people with disabilities on the judging panel for the Namibia Sports Awards? This and many questions did the rounds a few weeks back when the Namibia Sports Commission launched this year’s awards and also announced the judges.
It appears people with disabilities, or those who work in the disability sport movement have shown no interest to adjudicate the nominations. Unlike in previous years when the NSC handpicked the judges, this year they took a different approach. They placed advertisements in the local media inviting interested but suitably qualified people to express in becoming judges for the sports awards.
According to Monica Shapwa, an NSC board member, only a handful of submissions were received from interested individuals and not any of them included people with disabilities, or those representing disability sports. In fact, she said, less than 10 submissions were received, thus limiting the scope of potential judges to be appointed.
“Unlike in the past year, where we handpicked the judges, this time around we decided to advertise the positions,” said Shapwa, as she added that it would have been good if professionals with interest in sports for people with disabilities had also expressed interest.
Shapwa was however confident that the selected judges for the sport awards would act with integrity and consider all nominations on their individual merits without bias towards or against any individual or groups.
She said judges will at all times be guided by the judging criteria that has been tried and tested over the years. Besides, she indicated, all the results will be subjected to auditing before they are announced at the awards ceremony in November.
Also contacted on the composition of the panel of judges was the Namibia Paralympic Committee (NPC) secretary general, Michael Hamukwaya who at the time was oblivious of whom the judges were.
“To be honest, I don’t know the composition of the panel of judges but thank to you for having enlightened me. Notwithstanding, everything depends on the experience and qualifications of the panel of judges,” he said.
He said he was comfortable with two members of the judging panel, Lesley Tjiueza and Joan Smith and expressed confidence that they and their colleagues will follow the rules and he laid down criteria.
“I was with Tjiueza when we competed in the 2012 World Championships in New Zealand and Smith as being one of the rocks in the Paralympic movement. I hope they will not turn their backs as they have the experience and have advocated for disability sport,” said Hamukwaya.
“I hope whoever is judging has the experience in disability sport since some of our athletes have competed in the biggest sporting events,” he said.
The panel of judges consists of Lesley Tjiueza (chairperson), Carlos Kambaekwa, Joan Smith, Sebastian Kamungu, Reginald Hinda, Appolos Shimakeleni and Isdor Angula.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015