Disabled Athletes Faced by Many Challenges Despite Medals
Namibian Paralympic athletes Ananias Shikongo and Johannes Nambala have put Namibia on the map by scooping 5 medals (1 Gold, 2 Silver and 2 Bronze) from the just concluded Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, held in Rio de Janeiro Brazil. In an interview with Spotlight news, Ananias and Johannes described their Rio 2016 Paralympic journey as a dream come true. “You know this is my goal I was targeting since 2005 when I was young, for up and coming athletes one thing I would like to say, they have to sweat and then they have to push and don’t think that you are starting the sport yesterday and tomorrow you are a winner , this a long journey and we have to fight for it,” said Shikongo.
Nambala however expressed his excitement from response from the general public since arriving back in the country. “Things have changed especially people they are coming to us and appreciate what we have done for the country,” said Nambala.
Meanwhile Namibia Paralympic Committee Secretary General and Coach Michael Hamukwaya said it has not been an easy journey for the athletes, saying the athletes did not have any specific sponsors or someone helping them, adding that they have been getting support only from their families. Hamukwaya however commended Government for giving the athletes a chance to participate in major international events. Hamukwaya stressed that Paralympic sport is an expensive sport especially in Namibia as the facilities are not equipped for athletes with disabilities.
Spotlight news sat down with Ananias Shikongo, Johannes Nambala and Namibia Paralympic Committee Secretary General and Coach Michael Hamukwaya on their Rio Paralympic 2016 achievements, challenges faced by disabled athletes and the lack of support and training facilities for these athletes.
-Article and Interviews by Maggie Forcelledo