A national 3x3 wheelchair basketball team will depart for South Africa today to attempt to qualify for the Commonwealth Games next year.
The competition is expected to get underway tomorrow and conclude on Sunday, 10 October in Johannesburg.
Countries taking part in the competition include Gambia, Kenya, Tanzania as well as host South Africa.
It will be Namibia’s first time to take part in a wheelchair basketball qualifying competition, with the aim being to meet the criteria for the Games set for Birmingham, United Kingdom.
The players are Ingo David, Matias Kamenye, Roodly Gowaseb and Termus Festus, who will be accompanied by Pondo Nailenge – the acting president of the Namibia Wheelchair Basketball Federation (NWBF) as team manager – and NWBF secretary general delegate Henock Hanga.
Nailenge is happy that the day has come for them to go and compete.
“After months of preparations, we are glad the day has come to go showcase what we have been practising. We have worked hard, and everyone has put in an unlimited amount of time to ensure they are all prepared and ready for the competition,” he told New Era Sport.
Nailenge extended gratitude to British expert Ryan Raghoo, who also helped in the establishment of the federation last year, for helping the team prepare.
“Ryan is always guiding us regarding our training and what we should pay attention to the most. He has been very instrumental in these preparations. I believe we can acquire the most important thing – qualifying for the games.” Raghoo is a long jumper with cerebral palsy, and founder of the Enabled not Disabled brand. The qualifiers further provide Namibia with an opportunity to network as well as learn from countries which have competed at that level, added Nailenge.
Namibia Paralympic Committee (NPC) secretary general Michael Hamukwaya said it is a dream come true to have more parasport codes go international.
“It has always just been athletics representing Namibian parasport, so it is indeed a good development for Namibian 3x3 wheelchair basketball to go for the qualifiers. It is a milestone for the NPC. It shows the committee is growing, small steps at a time,” he told this publication.
Hamukwaya wished the team well and expressed the hope that they will make the country proud by qualifying.