Disability Sport Stars Recognised

Twenty athletes were honoured for their accomplishments this year at the Disability Sport Namibia Annual Recognition Awards Ceremony held in Windhoek on Thursday.

Additionally, 10 Paralympic and Special Olympics coaches, including the late Tertius Beukes, who died in a car crash earlier this week, were also rewarded for their tireless contribution the success of the athletes.

The DSN Awards ceremony staged at Arebusch Lodge was a colourful affair, attended by exuberant athletes, high ranking government officials and special guests.

One such guest, motivational speaker Marks Maponyane from South Africa, praised the athletes for embracing their handicaps and making the most of the opportunities that came their way.

Using several anecdotes from his playing days, the South African football icon said the athletes’ hard work had elevated them from ordinary citizens to national heroes who can inspire others.

“Failures always have excuses and an answer to justify their status as losers,” Maponyane said.

“Failures always blame others for their situation. They don’t want to experience pain. But there really is no gain if there’s no pain. To be successful, you need to take risks and be willing to remove yourself from your comfort zone. You cannot sit around and hope for things to happen,” he added.

DSN patron Pohamba Shifeta also took the opportunity to lavish praise on the athletes, saying they deserved improved recognition and support from government and the nation for their continued excellence on the international stage.

“I’m very proud of what disability sport has achieved in the past few years,” Shifeta told the audience.

“That is why I encourage the Namibian government to support disability sport. We need to maintain this level of success and also to improve on it. There’s a need for more coaches and volunteers to help the athletes. So we need more financial assistance for that and also to help with getting specialised equipment for disabled athletes,” Shifeta, who also called for an end to stigmatisation and neglect of the handicapped.

The Gala Event was organised by DSN, the National Umbrella sport body responsible for developing sport for people with disabilities in the country, in partnership with NamPower and the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA).

DSN’s primary financier NamPower pledged N$811 500, with the MVA adding N$100 000 towards the body’s operations.

The award recipients are as follows:

Paralympic athletes – Ananias Shikongo, Ruben Soroseb, Peter Balhoa, Johannes Nambala, Johanna Benson, Elias Ndimulunde, Ishtile Lahja, Johanna Katjikuru, Chamelle Van Der Westhuizen, Rosa Mandjoro

Special Olympics athletes Abraham Alweendo, Linrich Diergaardt, Jurgen Kamure, Irene Mupenda, Ruben Gowaseb, Andile Mhlanga, Melanie Van Wyk, Selma Nelumbu, Andima Simon, Gideon Nasilowski

Paralympic coaches: Tertius Beukus, Esther Washinana, Belinda Oberholster, Michael Hamukwaya, Zikzee Mutenge, Rodney Van Wyk

Special Olympics coaches – Tessia Scott, Erikson Ngikufe, Shelikita Andreas, Ankoshi Thomas Paralympic guide – Even Tjiviju and David Ndeilenga.

Source : The Namibian