Namibia: ‘I’m a Namibian Hero!’

The Namibian Windhoek Sheefeni Nikodemus
Displayed with permission from allAfrica.com

NAMIBIAN athletics star Ananias Shikongo dedicated his success to the nation after receiving the country’s top sport performer prize at Friday’s national sport awards.

As anticipated, Shikongo emerged the biggest winner at the 2016 Namibia Sport Awards where he bagged three awards worth over N$300 000.

The Paralympic gold and double bronze medalist won the sport achiever [N$200 000] and sportsman with disability [N100 000] individual awards, and shared the team of the year prize [N$100 000] that went to the 4x100m Paralympic relay team

« It was so good and enjoyable when I defeated those Brazilians in their own country to win these medals, » Shikongo said to loud applause from the appreciative audience at the Windhoek Country Club.

« I’m very happy for this achievement. Now I can say I am a Namibian hero. I’ve decided that this gold medal and the two bronze medals will be equalized as a gold for the men and a gold for women. »

This year marked something of a watershed period for the likeable 30 year-old visually impaired athlete who had toiled with little reward since 2004.

In fact, Shikongo and most improved sportsperson of the year award recipient Johannes Nambala still live in a shack in one of Windhoek’s informal settlements despite winning numerous medals at high profile continental and global competitions over the years.

Both athletes were part of the group of athletes who had gone on strike prior to their participation at the Rio Paralympics in a bid to force Government to settle outstanding performance bonuses dating back to 2013.

« To encourage the upcoming [athletes], sometimes the training is tough but you have to go for it because you have to be a Namibian hero, » Shikongo stated.

On an evening that was deservedly dominated by Paralympic sport personalities, Michael Hamukwaya won the best coach and chairperson’s awards.

Johanna Benson retained the sportswoman with disability award, with Lahja Ishitile doing likewise for the junior award as Abraham Hafenanye received the junior sportsman with disability accolade.

The sportsman of the year prize went to karateka De Wet Moolman and roadrunner Beata Naigambo claimed the female equivalent, while Delano Muller and Mayvonne Swart won the junior sportsman and woman awards.

Football official Jackson Pavaza collected the referee of the year prize, with Namibian Sun’s Kaino Nghitongo winning print journalist of the year award as Hesron Kapanga from Nampa received the best photographer prize.

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