A group of 11 Namibian para-athletes will this week travel to Port Elizabeth to compete in the South African national championships slated to start on Friday.
The Sports Association for Physically Disabled (SASAPD) National Championships, which runs until 27 April, will serve as the last opportunity for para-athletes to qualify for the Paralympic Games set for 24 August to 5 September 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.
Seasoned campaigners such as Johanna Benson, Ananias Shikongo, Silvia Shivolo, Simon Shihepo and Diaz Johnson are part of the Namibian track and field team. The athletes will also be accompanied by three guides.
Namibia Paralympic Committee SG Michael Hamukwaya said the athletes understand the criticalness of the South African championships, as it will be their last chance to secure themselves a place at this year’s Paralympics.
Briefing New Era Sport yesterday on the readiness and preparedness of the athletes, Hamukwaya said preparations are on course as most of the athletes have been making use of the many local competitions to sharpen their skills for the SA championships.
“Athletes have been busy since earlier this year, preparing in different areas of the country at various competitions. We have athletes training in the north, coast and here in the capital, and we have been busy monitoring their progress,” he said.
The final number of slots allocated to Namibia for the Paralympic Games will be announced on 5 May.
The SA championships aim to provide sporting opportunities to a mass of athletes living with disabilities and to create a pathway for high performance for para-athletes as they strive to represent their respective countries at the highest levels.