WINDHOEK: National power utility NamPower on Tuesday handed over a sponsorship of N.dollars 700 000 to the Namibian Paralympics team to participate in the Paralympic Games in London.
The Paralympic Games will follow the Olympic Games, and are slated for 29 August until 09 September.
At the handing-over ceremony, the Managing Director of NamPower Paulinus Shilamba said the donation will be utilised for the team’s participation in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London; the Special Olympics’ Unified FIFA World Cup qualifier in October this year; and the Disability Sports Namibia Awards’ ceremony to be held later this year.
“NamPower shall continue to power socio-economic development in Namibia, and in so doing, invest a portion of its gains into communities and projects of national importance in order to make a meaningful difference in the lives of our people,” he stated.
Shilamba noted that persons living with disabilities tend to experience greater social, political and economic exclusion than persons without disabilities worldwide.
The cost of this exclusion and discrimination is enormous in terms of lost opportunities, and poor quality of life for individuals and their families.
“Sports also provides opportunities for persons with disabilities to develop social skills, forge friendships outside their families, exercise responsibilities and take on leadership roles,” Shilamba added.
He thus encouraged athletes with disabilities to be an inspiration to all able-bodied persons to not allow anything to get in their way of reaching their own true potential.
On his part, the president of Disability Sports Namibia, Charles Nyambe, raised the concern about the shortages of finances to support these athletes to participate in big events globally.
He cited an example of the special shoes used for powerlifting that cost about N.dollars 14 000, while a sports wheelchair costs about N.dollars 32 000.
There is thus a need for awareness-creation about Paralympics and Special Olympics to attract more funds, according to Nyambe.
“We have to campaign for, and create awareness to understand the needs of people living with disabilities,” he reiterated.
At the same occasion, Deputy Minister of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture Pohamba Shifeta commended NamPower for a growing partnership.
NamPower also donated N.dollars 600 000 last year to Disability Sports Namibia, of which four major events benefitted from the donation.
“The sponsorship came at a right time for these athletes to participate in this major international event,” he said.
Shifeta will be part of the 19-member delegation that will accompany the five athletes and one guide to the Paralympics.
The athletes are Ananias Shikongo (100 metres, 200m and 400m); Martin Aloysius (200m and 400m); Johanna Benson (100m, 200m and long jump); Reginald Benade (shotput and discuss); Ruben Soroseb (powerlifting); and Even Tjiviju (Shikongo’s guide).