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Major setback for Namibia’s star para-athletes…as they lose discrimination case

By: Justicia Shipena

Two para-athletes, Ananias Shikongo and Johannes Nambala, have lost an appeal case brought before the Sports Appeal Committee in which they expressed dissatisfaction at being excluded from 2021’s sports star of the year awards.

The two brought the appeal alongside their coach, Letu Hamola, who also submitted that the awards were discriminatory to people with disabilities.

Hamola did not make it to the Coach of the Year nominees.

However, Nambala only managed to bag the NamPower sponsored Sportsman of the Year with a Disability Award, valued at N$100 00, and not Sports Star of the Year.

Coach Hamhola has been on record lamenting how Nambala and Shikongo were not shortlisted for what he described as the most valuable awards prize.

While this is victory for the Sports Commission, but the appeals committee has also ruled that it must relook its constitution for it to be more aligned.

Two awards were given to Olympic silver medallist, Christine Mboma, for Sports Star of the   Year, and her coach, Henk Botha, scooped the Coach of the Year Award, during the annual Namibia Sports Awards ceremony.

Nambala and Shikongo were glaringly absent from the Safari Hotel awards reception.

However, Shikongo claimed the nation’s first medal at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo with silver in the T11 400m.

Furthermore, Nambala, who has won a medal at every world championship since 2013, including gold at the most recent edition in Dubai in 2019 and won two silver medals at the Rio Paralympics five years ago, claimed bronze in Tokyo.

The review period for the 2021 sports award was set from October 2019 to 5 October 2021.

The Appeals Committee, set up by minister, Agnes Tjongarero in 2020, has thus now dismissed the trio’s case.

“After considering submissions from all parties, the appeal committee consisting of Stephanie Elago (Chairperson), Marius Kudumo and Donovan Zealand on the 4 August 2022 announced its verdict that the case is dismissed,” said NSC chief administrator Freddy Mwiya during a press conference on Friday.

Mwiya said the written verdict would be formally handed down on 8 August 2022, and the commission will study the verdict and implement its recommendations if required.

On 2 November 2021, Shikongo and Nambala, their coach Hamhola, represented by Shikongo law chambers, appealed against the commission’s decision at the award ceremony.

The commission counsel was Hafeni Hamunyela of Andreas Hamunyela Legal practitioner.

“The appellants represented by Letu Hamhola, who is employed as the personal coach of the Paralympians Ananias Shikongo and Johannes Nambala, are full members of Athletics Namibia,” Mwiya added.

On the other hand, public relations officer and award manager, Chalo Chainda, said the commission hosted a stakeholder’s consultative meeting last month to review the awards rule book.

“At the same time, we took time to address concerns that might have been aroused from previous events,” he said.

He said the awards rule book contains all the essential details of how they run the awards and describes the requirements for the year-end awards.

The book and related documentation will be made available on the NSC’s website.

Chainda urged the public to submit their recommendations for the annual sports awards by 11 August 2022.

“We still invite all stakeholders to register their concerns or recommendations. The submissions, concerns, inputs or recommendations window period has been open from 11 July 2022 and officially closes on 11 August 2022 and should be emailed to”

Justicia Shipena

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