Para-athletes impress at national championship

04 Nov 2014 09:30am
WINDHOEK, 04 NOV (NAMPA) - Upcoming para-athletes’ performances impressed the organisers of the National Paralympic Championships in Windhoek over the weekend.
The Namibia Paralympic Committee (NPC) hosted their third National Paralympic Championships at the Independence Stadium on Friday and Saturday.
Speaking to Nampa on Monday, the head coach of para-sports Michael Hamukwaya said this year’s event was ‘brilliant’ when compared to previous events.
“Athletes have picked up their socks, and they are now aware of what is expected from them.
In the past, they would just come to Windhoek to relax and not compete, but this year, everyone came with their running gear and knew how important it was to compete at the event,” he noted.
He added that the athletes were confident and looked professional while on the track.
“They have realised how important it is to win medals for their country,” stressed Hamukwaya.
Upcoming para-athletes Lahja Ishitile, Thomas Kamunime, Rosa Mandjoro, Eino Mushila, Anghuwo Erastus and Ashingali Nguluwe showed they are capable of winning medals for Namibia in future track events.
“We had great performances in track events over the weekend, with T11 athletes like Thomas Kamunime giving Ananias Shikongo a challenge in the 100 metre (m), 200m and 400m events.
In the ladies’ T12 category, Rosa Mandjoro was a sensation to watch, and I was impressed by Lahja Ishitile, who has gained a lot of momentum,” he continued.
He indicated that Namibia can expect its ‘next Johanna Benson’ in the men’s T37 category, with Hanghuwo Erastus running brilliantly in the 100m and 200m events.
Benson won gold in the women’s 200m T37 race and silver in the women’s 100m T37 race at the 2012 Summer Paralympics, hosted in London in the United Kingdom.
The head coach added that Namibia has improved drastically in track events, but indicated that more attention needs to be paid to field events.
“During the championship, we learned that most of the athletes doing field events have never done it before. Some of the athletes threw a discus for the first time, and that is not right at all,” Hamukwaya said.
The training of coaches in the regions will also receive more attention.
“We will look at what other codes we should focus more on if we want to develop athletes in para-sports,” he stated.