The Paralympic Games took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 7 to 18 September. The athletes won five medals overall to beat their all-time record of three medals since the Namibia National Paralympic Committee (NPC) joined the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) in 1999.
Shikongo won three medals in the T11, 100 metre (bronze), 200m (gold) and 400m (bronze) categories, while Nambala won two silvers in the T13, 200m and 400m categories. Shikongo was assisted by his two guides Even Tjiviju and Sem Shimanda. Upon the athletes’ return to Namibia, only Bank Windhoek rewarded the four athletes with N$5 000 each. Coca Cola is also said to have rewarded the four athletes vouchers worth N$6 000 each.
“Before we left for Rio, we stood our ground asking for our money and the sports deputy minister just told us to go and do our best and the rewards will be attended to later. Today, we have received nothing but silence. We have not even yet met with the President Hage Geingob. So we are patiently waiting to hear what we are yet to be rewarded,” said gold medallist Ananias Shikongo yesterday.
Without his prize monies, Shikongo currently lives off the government grant for persons living with disabilities. Upon enquiry with the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, Nampa was referred to the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) by the minister’s office. NSC Acting Chief Administrator Walter Haseb said they are currently in talks with the line ministry to facilitate a way to reward the athletes.
“We have not forgotten about our national heroes; we spoke to the ministry to first facilitate a meeting for the athletes to present the medals to the president at State House. “We also asked them to see if there are any funds left in the coffers of the ministry so we can reward these athletes accordingly,” he said.
Haseb added that despite the country’s reward policy still being reviewed, the athletes will be rewarded better than they were rewarded for their performance at the All Africa Games (AAG).
“When the athletes had their strike before the Paralympic Games the line ministry promised monetary incentives should they bring home medals from Rio so we will still reward them, we are still working on it,” stated Haseb.
For winning medals at the AAG, athletes received N$60 000 for a gold medal, N$40 000 (silver) and N$20 000 for bronze. This time around for the Rio competitions, a gold medallist takes N$100 000, N$70 000 for silver and N$30 000 for the bronze.
-Additional info from Nampa