Nottwil Grand Prix the test for World Champs: Hamukwaya

Namibia Paralympic Committee (NPC) secretary-general, Michael Hamukwaya says the Nottwil Grand Prix will be used as the final benchmark for athletes ahead of the World Para Athletics Championships.

The fifth and final round of the WPA Grand Prix will be held from 25 to 27 May 2023 at the Sports Arena Nottwill situated at the Swiss Paraplegic Centre.

Speaking to Nampa on Tuesday, the Namibian Team manager for their European Tour, Hamukwaya said athletes have a last chance to prove themselves to the world.

“We were in Italy a week ago where the athletes had a chance to improve on their times, but that did not happen. Therefore, we are looking forward to the Nottwil Grand Prix as this is the last competitive competition before the World Champs,” he said.

Hamukwaya added that the deadline for athletes to qualify for the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Para Athletics Championships is 28 May 2023. He is hopeful that Namibian athletes will rise to the occasion and improve their ranking.

“The 2023 IPC World Athletics Championships is slated for France in July. It’s important for our athletes to be ranked in the top 10 after this championship, as it will give us more slots,” he said.

He added that athletes must prove themselves at the Nottwil Grand Prix because this will give the NPC an indication of how many athletes are ready for silverware at the World Championship.

“In 2019, we took 15 athletes to the World Para Athletics Championships, and only one athlete won medals. We ended up being awarded only one slot for the Paralympics, which is why it’s important to know if we need a bigger group or a smaller group for the world champs,” Hamukwaya said, adding that the NPC is thankful to the government for making this trip possible.

Namibian athletes who travelled with the team are T11 male sprinters Ananias Shikongo, Kinda Chris, and Alfredo Bernado, T11 female sprinter Lahja Ishitile and T12 sprinter Lahja Ipinge, T13 sprinter Johannes Nambala, T47 sprinter Bradley Murere, T37 sprinter Petrus Karuli, and T64 sprinter Denzel Namene.

The athletes are accompanied by guides Even Tjiuiju, Hatango Murere, Kelvin Goagoseb, Philipus Paulus and Sem Shimanda.

The management team consists of Hamukwaya, chef de mission Jean-Paul Schmidt, Ruan Mocke (physiotherapist), Letu Hamhola (head coach) and Naomi Schmidt (assistant coach).

Source: The Namibian Press Agency