WINDHOEK: Namibian Paralympics gold medallist Johanna Benson was once more rewarded handsomely for her exploits by the country’s highest office when President Hifikepunye Pohamba promised her a Diplomatic Passport and house here on Wednesday.
Apart from her gold and silver medals and accompanying cash rewards, the president and First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba hosted a reception at State House in Benson’s honour on Wednesday.Benson brought home the two medals from the recently-concluded 2012 London Paralympics Games – a gold medal for winning the 200m T37 sprint, and a silver medal for the T37 100m.
Government already pledged N.dollars 100 000 for a gold medal, and N.dolllars 70 000 for a silver medal won at the 2012 Paralympics Games.The Head of State said during the event that the achievement by this exceptional young lady has brought smiles to the faces of many Namibians, and must serve as an inspiration to the Namibian youth, especially those living with disabilities that nothing can stand in their way.
He said Benson had set a splendid example that other young Namibians should emulate.
“Johanna, you have done our country very proud. You have put Namibia on the international map as a sporting nation,” beamed Pohamba.He added that Benson’s achievements will no doubt serve as inspiration and encouragement to other young people in the country to work hard in order to excel in whatever they do, and to realise their dreams.
Pohamba said Benson won the medals not because the races in which she participated were easy, but because she worked hard, prepared thoroughly and was guided by the principles of discipline and commitment.“We admire her because she worked hard against all odds, with determination and a strong will to realise her dreams,” he stressed.
The Namibian leader then encouraged the youth to become more serious with their schoolwork and to take part in sports so that one day, they can follow in the footsteps of their fellow countrymen and women such as former star sprinter Frank Fredericks, boxer Harry Simon, cyclist Mannie Heymans, middle-distance runner Agnes Samaria and the newly-minted Johanna Benson.
“We count on our athletes to hoist our flag higher, and to make our nation proud by competing against the best athletes in the world and winning international competitions,” Pohamba stated. He also called on the private sector to join hands with the Namibian Government, and to look at alternative mechanisms of rewarding successful athletes.