Paralympian athletes train in the Netherlands again, eyes set on Tokyo 2020
Namibia’s Paralympic athletes are in the Netherlands again for special training sessions in preparation of Tokyo 2020. This follows after a similar, intensive training session in 2018.
This week the National Paralympic Committee of Namibia said two of Namibia’s foremost paralympian athletes, Ananias Shikongo and Johannes Nambala are currently in the Netherlands, accompanied by guide runner, Sem Shimanda.
The is the second training session made possible by the manager of the Sport on the Move Foundation for Namibia, Elisa Ostet whom the athletes met in 2016. Ostet is also the Programme Coordinator for the Executive MBA at Nyenrode Business University in the Netherlands.
“For [the next] almost two months they [will] train again their athletic skills in Enschede, this time in preparation of the HandiSport Open Para Athletics Grand Prix in Paris,” said Ostet from Paris in response to enquires by the Economist.
The idea behind the training in Europe is to familiarise the athletes with local conditions before major events. “Here they get support from trainers like Sebastiaan Steenberg and the local athletics club AC Tion. They can train their overall fitness at Trifora Sport & Health Club with fitness trainers from Leon Stevense Personal Training and get physiotherapist sessions at Pro-F. The availability of all the support, the focus on training and not to have to think about their everyday struggles, make them improve in their sport,” she said.
In 2018, Nambala and Shikongo with guide Even Tjiviju, as part of the Namibian paralympic team, went to the Para Athletics Grand Prix in Berlin. For the Berlin GP the Sport on the Move Foundation arranged a nutrition sponsor for the in-between fruits, snacks and drinks. Before and after the competition the three athletes joined a training session in the Netherlands. They lodged with Ostet, trained at the local athletics club and participated in local competitions.
“The local club ACTION also arranged a fundraising event for the athletes. Furthermore, they trained together with the Dutch para-athletics team at the national training centre in Papendal. The Namibians were also invited to tell their story and exchange their knowledge to students of the Sports Leadership Programme at the Nyenrode University. All these activities developed into a relationship between the Dutch and Namibian para-sports,” according to Ostet.
Earlier this year Ostet visited Namibia to check on the athletes’ progress and on the administration of the foundation. She came with three bags of sport equipment, clothes and sport shoes to donate to the Namibian Paralympic Committee on behalf of the foundation.
Together with the foundation members, led by chairman Doufi Namalambo, they are working on an action plan for the Paralympic Games of Tokyo2020, in the meantime searching for local partners and sponsors.
Caption: The Namibian paralympians last week travelled to the Netherlands via Belgium where they were met by the Namibian Ambassador in Brussels. From the left, Ananias Shikongo, Johannes Nambala, Ambassador Dr Kaire Mbuende and in the front, Sem Shimanda.