Namibia’s Paralympic gold and silver medalists, Johanna Benson said she is no more receiving the financial support she enjoyed after wining medals at the 2012 London’s Paralympic Games.
Benson won gold in T37 women’s 200m and silver medal in the 100m that made her the new face of most corporate worlds in the country but two years on the line, those same corporate worlds have distanced themselves, she said.
“It was only after I won the medals that the country was behind me especially the companies but like now I don’t even have a sponsor. I don’t know why. Those companies only wanted to use my image for a short period and this is what they did. I am not happy about it,” said Benson.
To make matters worse, Benson is in need of a financial samaritan ahead of her preparations for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in which she is expected to compete in the long jump.
The Commonwealth Games are set to start from the 23 July to 3 August in Glasgow, Scotland.
“ I don’t have money to go to the training every day. I sometimes get money from my mom, aunties and uncles because I do my training in Kuisebmund Stadium (Walvis Bay) from town but the sand is not good at all because it is very hard,” said Benson.
Asked about the fortunes she made after wining medals at the 2012 Paralympic Games, she said she has invested her money in a trust fund at Old Mutual in Windhoek.
“The money is with Old Mutual. Only if we need to buy households is when we go and withdraw money at Old Mutual.
The Villager Sports also asked Benson to why she decided to compete in the long jump, she said she has no idea but also said it was a move made by someone within the sports fratenity.
“I have been competing in the long jump before I went to the London Games but I had been absent from it the past three years. It was also the same at the World championships in Paris, France last year. Someone just phoned me a while ago and told me that I am going to compete in the long jump because at the Games there wont be my favorite T37 heat. I don’t think I am going to win a medal because I am not used in long jump,” said Benson.
Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) Chief Administrator, Shivute Katamba who is currently out of the country refused to be drawn in Benson’s financial affairs after approached by The Villager.
“I believe you are aware how our sports structures work and you also know her representatives structures or federations, as well as the responsibilities of Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) and others, so they should be the right people to answer such questions,” said Shivute through an sms.
Meanwhile, the Director of Sports in the Ministry of Sport, Dr Vetumbuavi Veii also distanced himself.
“Talk to the people of Paralympics,” he said. Secretary-General of the Namibia Paralympic Committee (NPC), Drucella Kandji also refused to comment on the matter saying her office does not deal with athletes financial status.