Windhoek, Namibia – The Disability Sports Namibia (DSN) awards ceremony, held over the weekend in Windhoek, recognized the hard work and achievements of twenty-three athletes, one guide, and six coaches for their exceptional performances throughout the 2023 season. The athletes and coaches, representing various sports disciplines, were celebrated for their dedication and achievements.
According to Namibian Press Agency (NAMPA), the Sports Director in the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, on behalf of the minister, the Namibian Government is committed to supporting individuals with disabilities in sports. Manuel highlighted that people with disabilities in developing countries often face significant barriers in participating in sports and physical activities. The government’s support for DSN, demonstrated through annual grants, has contributed to notable successes for Namibia on the world stage.
Manuel emphasized the importance of acknowledging the sacrifices, determination, perseverance, and resilience of the athletes, as well as the crucial roles played by coaches, administrators, teachers, and family members in supporting these athletes. The DSN awards serve not only as a recognition of the athletes’ achievements but also as an expression of gratitude for their commitment to their respective sports.
The ceremony recognized several athletes from the Namibia Paralympic Committee for their outstanding achievements in various sports. This included Martha Nengolo in athletics field events, Jan-Lotz du Toit in archery, Prince Namundjebo in boccia, cyclists Gabriel Nghishililwa, Mateus Kambudu, and David Haluteni, swimmers Keila de Oliveira and Mateus Angula, Kamenye Kapuma in para powerlifting, and Jeromuis Rooi in para-triathlon.
Special Olympics athletes Rodney Stewe and Vitjituaije Master in cycling, Louise Popyeni Sagaria and Fimanekeni Pombili in athletics, and basketball players Pepua Kambueza, Munoawa Haita, and Nganda Tjakuva also received accolades. Leadership skills were recognized in Ananias Gabriel, Santos Antonio, and Felicity van der Heveer.
From the Deaf Association, Thuhafeni Shihwameni and Erickson Mwanyanga were honored in football, with Hilma Nangombe and Letisia Mateus in netball, and Uakusana Tembo and Lesley Kateme in athletics. Coaches including Lucky Ikechukwu and Naomi Schmidt for the Paralympics, Jeremia Kavandje and Wellem Engelbrecht for the Special Olympics, and Edgar Maharero and Ndinomukulili Shamalia from DSN were also acknowledged.
NamPower, a long-term supporter of DSN for 11 years, was presented with a Shield of Excellence award, while the MVA Fund received an appreciation award for their support.