Paralympic athletes hard at work ahead of Athletics Grand Prix

14 Mar 2017 12:00pm
WINDHOEK, 14 MAR (NAMPA) - Paralympic medallists for 2016, Ananias Shikongo and Johannes Nambala are ready for the 2017 World Para Athletics Grand Prix.
Nambala and Shikongo will travel to Dubai on Thursday to acclimatise while also doing their final preparations for the fifth annual Grand Prix season which will begin in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) from 20 to 23 March.
There are nine Grand Prix events across continents such as Asia, Europe and America in 2017, but the Namibians will only participate in the Dubai competition. They will also run in the World Para Athletics Championships set for London, United Kingdom from 14 to 23 July.
Speaking to Nampa on Tuesday, Namibia Paralympics Committee (NPC) Secretary-General and Coach Michael Hamukwaya said the training had gone well and athletes are in shape.
“We have been hard at work since 04 January and I am confident that in Dubai our athletes will do their level best to show the rest of the world what they are still made off,” he said.
Hamukwaya added that the only challenge they faced throughout the training camp is lack of guides due to the athletic season.
“It is unfortunate that Shikongo did not train with his guides (Even Tjiviju and Sem Shimanda) because they all went back to their clubs to train due to the athletic season. But we at least used Nambala who is also a world class athlete and specialist in 400 metres (m) to help guide Shikongo during our training sessions,” he said.
Nambala is visually impaired but can partially see compared to Shikongo.
Shikongo won a Gold medal in the T11, 200 metres (m) sprint and two bronzes in 100m and 400m at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Nambala is a double Paralympic Silver medallist, and the current world champion in the men’s T13, 200m sprint, a medal he won at the International Paralympic Committee World Championships in Doha, Qatar last year. He also won Bronze in the 400m at the same event.
Hamukwaya added that national power utility, NamPower, has availed funding for their travel to the competition.
Meanwhile, the NPC will also send a team of six athletes to Port Elizabeth, South Africa to compete in the South African Sports Association for Physically Disabled and Visually Impaired national championships.