Hamukwaya targets Tunis, Marrakech

Classification on the cards

13 January 2020 | Sports

Namibia Paralympic Committee (NPC) secretary-general Michael Hamukwaya says the committee has many athletes they want classified this year.

The NPC begins its operations today and is already planning to take athletes to Morocco and Tunisia to earn their classification status.

This classification is a system to determine which athletes with disabilities may compete against each other in para-athletics events.

Classification is intended to group together athletes with similar levels of physical ability to allow fair competition. Athletes who are not classified are not able to compete at international events like the Olympics and world championships.

As things stand, Namibia has many para-athletes who are yet to earn their classification status.

Hamukwaya is however adamant that most of these athletes will gain their classification this year.

“It is a very important exercise because we want to have more para-athletes in future events.

“We have athletics, canoeing, blind soccer and swimming that we focus on, while planning to have sitting volleyball introduced,” Hamukwaya said. An athlete will only be permitted to undergo international classification if they are registered and licensed with World Para Athletics.

The first classification opportunities for Namibia this year will be in Morocco at the fifth international para athletics event to be held from 24 to 27 February.

Tunisia will also hold a 13th international event where Namibian athletes can gain classification from 23 to 25 June.

Dubai, Australia, Brazil, the United States, China, France, Italy, Poland and Switzerland all have classification competitions lined up this year. Hamukwaya however stressed that some of the countries where classifications take place are too far, making it difficult for Namibians to afford to compete.

“That is why we are targeting countries in Africa because we do not have enough funds to take athletes abroad for classification.

“South Africa usually also has a classification competition but they have not confirmed one for this year.

“We hope that we will be able to raise enough funds to help these young athletes get their classifications this year,” he said.

Jesse Jackson Kauraisa