Two Namibian athletes with a disability and their officials departed for Cairo, Egypt, on Saturday to compete in the 2023 World Boccia Africa Regional Championships.
The championships will see five countries, including Namibia, compete in Boccia from 2 to 8 July.
These championships will be used as a qualifier for teams and pairs for the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games.
At this championship, individual players will gain ranking points, which will help them gain qualifying points for Paris 2024.
Boccia is a precision ball sport related to bowls.
Speaking during the sending-off ceremony on Friday, Namibia Paralympic Committee (NPC) treasurer Jean-Paul Schmidt said this is momentous for the NPC.
“We are grateful to the government of Namibia because, without government assistance, this won’t be possible. The NPC is expanding to different sports codes, and this will be the first time we will be competing at these games,” he said.
Sports minister Agnes Tjongarero said Namibians are very critical people, but she is hopeful that the boccia team will enjoy themselves as well as do well for their country.
“Seeing as this is the first time you are participating in this event, we want you to gain experience while participating in this event but you must also enjoy yourselves while competing at this event. Despite being your first championship, try your best to get us something from this event,” she said.
The athletes and officials promised the minister that they will do their level best to fly the Namibian flag high while abroad.
“As a team, we are up in [good] spirits and don’t want to just add numbers, and credit should be given to the ministry for all the assistance you have rendered us,” said head of the delegation Henock Hango.
The athletes going to compete at the games are Johannes Kahima, who will compete in the BC2 category, and Ananias Nule (BC4).
The team is coached by Selma Ndaitwa and Memory Malase.