I have nothing but tears of joy when it comes to the achievements of our Paralympic athletes, who have undoubtedly taken the local sporting fraternity to greater heights, not just on the continent, but on the global stage.
Paralympian sensation, Ananias Shikongo, who is always sporting a Colgate smile, whenever one is graced by his presence, was named as the 2017 Regional Annual Sports Awards (RASA) Sportsman of the Year with a Disability this past Saturday.
The Paralympic gold medallist bagged N$50 000 in prize money.
It’s not just Shikongo who made the country very proud, as in total, Namibia scooped four awards at the RASA ceremony.
Our very own golden girl, Johanna Benson clinched the Sportswoman of the Year title, and just like Shikongo, she also became N$50 000 richer, while the RASA Junior Sportswoman of the Year award went to Maybonne Swart.
The Journalist of the Year title went to Namibian, Kaino Ndeumono.
Let me equally give two thumbs up to our other athletes, who emerged as runners-up in their various categories.
They are Beata Naingambo in the Sportswoman of the Year category, Dalamo Muller in the Junior Male Sportsman of the Year category, Rudolf De Wet Moolman in the Sportsman of the Year category and Michael Hamukwaya, in the Coach of the Year category
All of these runners-up will receive N$5 000 each for their troubles.
The gist of these recognitions is that Namibia has the potential to produce world champions, and we can truly believe this.
All we need is for the public and private sectors to invest in our athletes.
I am profoundly happy that our athletes have now been recognised at regional level. The RASA is contested by athletes from 10 countries, and our athletes have either taken the title or ended up as runners-up.
With the current economic woes filtering down to all our codes, and sport bodies finding it difficult to send their athletes to various qualification events, it’s now up to these athletes to religiously invest their monetary rewards into their training, as there are major sport competitions coming up.
It will be advisable for our Paralympic athletes, and those in leadership, to ensure that the prize monies are truly spent to the benefit of these athletes.
I know that Shikongo dreams of achieving yet more milestones, and credit must go to him and his teammates, for having inspired so many athletes, who wish to take up sport as a career.
My plea to Namibia Sports Commission (NCS) Chief Administrator, Freddy Mwiya, is to speed up the finalisation of the country’s sport reward policy.
I also sincerely believe that a fund must be established, which will financially assist these athletes in the long-run, when they eventually retire from active sport.
These are athletes who have, beyond any imagination, done this country proud, and perhaps the so-called able-bodied athletes can also emulate the discipline adopted by the Paralympians.
Namibian Paralympic athletes are truly our very best ambassadors, and deserve to be treated with respect, for what they have done. They have put us on the global sporting map!
Let us all encourage this crop, and ensure that when they retire, we will replace them with competent and equally good athletes.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015