Para-athletes face the storm

Para-athletes are feeling the impact of the coronavirus pandemic as a lack of training facilities and local events hits the sport.

04 August 2020 | Sports

JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA

WINDHOEK



Namibia Paralympics Committee (NPC) secretary-general Michael Hamukwaya has admitted that the coronavirus pandemic has proven how important local events are.

Football matches, horse racing, hockey and tennis have gradually resumed since the lockdown, but it is a different story for disability sports.

As things stand, para-athletes and administrators are barely hanging on to their careers as reality starts kicking in for the sport.

Athletes stationed in Windhoek are scrambling for places where they can train, given that the Katutura Youth Complex where they normally train is being used a shelter for the homeless.



It's tough

“Things are getting harder for us as the days go by because we do not even have a proper place where we can train.

“The other problem is that we relied too much on international events, which are out of the picture for now.

“It is a wake-up call that we need to organise more competitions locally in the future on our calendar,” Hamukwaya said.

Having brought home medals from world Paralympics championships, Grand Prix and many other competitions, some of these high-profile athletes have now resorted to training at a very small area in Khomasdal.



Doors to sport fields closed

“As I speak now, we are training at the School for the Visually Impaired and the space is not just enough for us.

“We tried contacting a few schools with bigger sport fields but some have turned a blind eye towards us and refused us entry or an opportunity to use their premises.

“I can assure you that this has become one of the most difficult times in the history of Paralympics here in Namibia.” They can overcome the storm

Many of the Para-athletes have overcome major difficulties in their lives and that is why Hamukwaya believes they will weather the storm.

“From serious accidents and unfortunate events in their journeys towards becoming stars, nothing is too hard for many of these guys to overcome,” he said.

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