Govt. still to decide on Paralympians' rewards

22 Sep 2016 17:40pm
WINDHOEK, 22 SEP (NAMPA) – Government is still to decide on what rewards to give to the two Paralympians who won five medals between them at the recent 2016 Paralympics.
Johannes Nambala won two silvers in the men’s T13, 100 metre (m) and 400m sprints, while and Ananias Shikongo won one gold and two bronze medals in the men’s T11, 100m, 200m and 400m categories at the Paralympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 05 to 18 September.
Speaking at a welcoming ceremony for Team Namibia’s nine athletes at the UN Plaza in Katutura on Thursday, Deputy Minister of Sports, Youth and National Service Agnes Tjongarero said Government will pronounce itself on the issue once all the consultations are completed.
“On behalf of the government, I would like to congratulate you for winning five medals in Rio. We are proud of your achievements, and we have noted them. I know a lot of you are wondering what the government will do to reward you for your efforts,” she said.
Tjongarero then encouraged Namibians with disabilities to engage in sports, saying nothing is impossible.
“You have proven that disability is not inability, therefore you are heroes to your fellow disabled people. I also urge other disabled people to take up sport so that they can go and compete in Tokyo 2020,” she added.
Tjongarero further noted that her ministry will have leverage when it comes to motivating a budget vote for disability sports.
“I have always said its time Namibia goes to these events to compete not to make up numbers, as we have shown we can compete. These medals will help us when we motivate the Ministry of Finance to give us more (money) as we can use it to show that taxpayers’ money is used effectively,” she concluded.
Over 150 members of the public, mostly pre-primary school children and people with disabilities, attended the event along with Deputy Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare Lucia Basson and Deputy Minister of Disability in the Office of the President Alexia Manombe-Ncube, Acting Sports Director Bernard Kaanjuka, Namibia Sports Commission Chairperson Joel Mathews, and other sports personalities.
Sprinter Johanna Benson won a gold medal and a silver medal at the London Paralympics in 2012 and upon her return, was rewarded with a house, cash and various sponsorships by Government, private companies and individuals.
It is now widely expected that Government will follow suite and reward the 2016 medallists handsomely.