The Namibian Rio champions Ananias Shikongo and Johannes Nambala are set to put up another show when they compete at the 2017 World Para Athletics Grand Prix next week in Dubai. This is their first race after last year’s Rio Summer Games in Brazil where they introduced themselves as world champions. The two have been training hard for the competition since January and say they are ready to bring home more medals. Shikongo will be taking part in both his track favourites 100 and 200 metre races in which the Rio gold medalist is confident.
“I want to be a world champion and I’m going out there to make my country proud again. I have checked out my competitors and they are not much of a threat, so I’m confident and I’m aiming for gold again,” said Shikongo. Shikongo expressed gratitude to the public for the support and promised that this one will be for them again. He says; “Ananias is again here in 2017 with full force and ready for this event. I am always happy to bring the medals home and I hope to make you proud.” His compatriot Nambala is equally excited and ready to take on the Grand Prix saying last year was just the beginning. “We are pushing from our side and I know we will go and do our best. What people saw last year was just the beginning, so there is more to come,” he said. The athletes, who have since winning in Rio received minimal financial assistance, say they are doing it for the country and they will not lose hope. During training, they shared that they have been using their own resources for training but equally appreciate the little they receive now and then from Good Samaritans.
Their coach and Namibia Paralympics Committee secretary general Michael Hamukwaya has high hopes and trust in the two athletes and is confident they would do the country proud again. Hamukwaya, however, was quick to add that to date they have had limited monetary support, something that could demoralise athletes. “It is just because these guys are loyal to their country. They are going to compete with athletes that are well equipped and trained with the right resources. They are Olympic champions but they are not treated as such here unfortunately. “However, come next week, we will market the country and do Namibia proud.” Shikongo, who is blind, will be under the guidance of Mohamed Bok who is a rookie on the international track. Bok comes in to replace Even Tjiviju who is unable to escort the champion due to club commitments. The athletes leave Windhoek this afternoon.