New Era

AN competitio­ns improving our ranking – Hamukwaya


MICHAEL HAMUKWAYA, the secretary general of the Namibia Paralympic Committee (NPC), said para-athletes’ ranking as well as their performanc­es have improved despite sporting activities being stopped due to Covid-19.

Hamukwaya said Covid-19 came as a blessing in disguise for Namibia’s top paraathlet­e. “Seeing as we just had one spot for the 2020 Paralympic Games, but due to the arrival of Covid-19, most of the qualifying competitio­ns got delayed and this was a motivation to our elite athletes as it gave them more time to prepare well and improve on their times during the competitio­ns that were held in the country,” said Hamukwaya. He added that the improved ranking of athletes that competed at Athletics Namibia’s (AN) competitio­ns will give the country an improved number of spots allocated to countries once the Internatio­nal Paralympic Committee (IPC) does its allocation­s.

“Namibia will probably now have at least five spots. During the nationals, most of our athletes improved their times and did their seasonal best, which is better for the country and when we look at the IPC system, Namibia now has four slots for athletics and one for swimming and by the end of the ranking in April next year, we hope we will have more than five spots,” he said.

Hamukwaya said there are 192 National Paralympic Committees in the world and 161 are in good standing with IPC, which is why Namibian athletes should compete more to improve on their slot allocation­s.

“AN is recognised by World Athletics and with that agreement in place our athletes with disability can compete at their events and their results will be recognised by IPC,” Hamukwaya said. The secretary general stated that the buildup to all AN competitio­ns by para-athletes gave them a chance to prepare well while gearing up for the Paralympic competitio­ns as most of the time they just had one competitio­n where their athletes competed for ranking, which was is in South Africa.

Hamukwaya therefore called on athletes with disabiliti­es to start joining different athletic clubs, which, in the end, will allow them to compete at these different competitio­ns and they will then be able to represent their country if selected from some of those competitio­ns.

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