By Michael Uugwanga
It is nearly four months since veteran Special Olympics marathon runner Ruben //Gowaseb won a gold medal at the 2019 World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in March this year, but he is yet to receive an official welcoming from Government in particular from the sport ministry. This is the second gold medal //Gowaseb has won at the event. The 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games half-marathon gold-medallist finished the race in a time of 1 hour 46 minutes and 33 seconds. The 40-year-old runner was the only Namibian athlete to participate in the half marathon event, and his victory was confirmed by the Namibia Sports Commission through its Facebook page, where it congratulated the athlete. The games, took place in the United Arab Emirates, started on 14 March and ended on 21 March with a total of 170 countries and 7 000 athletes having competed in various sport codes. In an interview with The Patriot Newspaper this week, an angry //Gowaseb expressed his disappointments in Government for not recognising his achievement.
“I have not even received a phone call from Government in particular from the sport ministry. All I was told by Special Olympics Namibia was that I will receive a formal welcoming, but up to now nothing. I am very disappointed seriously as I am doing my nation proud. Sometimes I just want to give up, but on the other hand I want to make my country proud. I am not even sure if I will be nominated at the sport awards this year,” //Gowaseb said.
//Gowaseb who has been refrain from speaking to the media by Special Olympics Namibia, also lashed out at Special Olympics Namibia by saying that the decision is unfair.
“I am also entitled to the freedom of speech. I do not know why they do not want me to speak to the media. How will people know me if I am not in the media?” /Gowaseb lashed out.
Even his mother Regina //Goaweses is also shocked that despite empty promises made by Special Olympics Namibia that a press conference was set to be held immediately after her son’s arrival from Abu Dhabi, nothing has come forth.
“I also do not know why nothing has taken place up to now. I have to go to the Namibia Sports Commission to find out,” //Gowases said.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service, Erastus Uutoni refused to take the blame for not calling a press conference, saying that the athlete and Special Olympics Namibia could have made the call to his office. “People have to initiate things. We need to work together. Sometimes we people we do forget. They must make an appointment with my office,” Upton said.
The 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games is a multi-sport event for athletes with intellectual disabilities in the tradition of the Special Olympics movement.