Hamukwaya calls for increased inclusivity for para-athletes

SWAKOPMUND: Secretary General of the Namibia Paralympic Committee, Michael Hamukwaya, has called for inclusivity for para-athletes in sports competitions, including the recently concluded Rössing Uranium Marathon.

In a recent interview with Nampa, Hamukwaya expressed his wish for an elite para-athlete category to be introduced to the marathon, enabling disabled athletes to showcase their skills and abilities.

‘The Rössing Marathon is one of the largest in the country, and para-athletes across the nation have only had the opportunity to participate for enjoyment, not necessarily for any prize money. So, this year, we decided to take an extra step and entered two of our elite wheelchair para-athletes to compete in the 42.2-kilometre race for people, including the organisers, to realise that paralympics are not just about participation, but can also be competitive,’ Hamukwaya noted.

According to the secretary general, although there were a few setbacks during the race such as flat tires, it was a learning exp
erience, and the para-athletes successfully completed the race.

‘Essentially, we entered to demonstrate our seriousness. These para-athletes have the capability to go the distance, with the appropriate equipment, if they were given the platform. We hope we have convinced the organisers of these events,’ Hamukwaya added.

Roodley Gawaseb, one of the para-athletes who participated in the Rössing Marathon, echoed Hamukwaya’s sentiments, stating that including them in these local competitions where they can compete for prizes would assist them in raising funds to cover travel expenses for international competitions.

‘We truly want organisers of these events to consider including us because as it stands, we are really struggling to finance these trips. As much as we want to enhance our skills and improve our times, attending as many competitions as possible is challenging because we have to seek funding for everything ourselves. If we do not have an opportunity to win any prizes, then we cannot do that,’ Gawaseb
said, adding that he intends to prepare and hopefully qualify for the Sanlam Marathon in South Africa, scheduled for October this year, and the Commonwealth Games next year.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency

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