Namibia: Reactions to Postponement of Sport Awards

7 August 2020

Following announcements that the 2020 edition of the Namibia Annual Sports Awards (NASA) has been postponed to next year, various athletes and sport administrators have come forth to weigh the decision of the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC).

The awards were postponed as a result of the widespread Covid-19 pandemic, which has robbed athletes of opportunities to compete continentally and internationally. Therefore, the NSC indicated, it will be extremely difficult for them to nominate athletes for the awards as there were no competitions available to draw from.

Renowned boxing promoter Nestor Tobias said that it is only fair for the NSC to postpone the prestigious awards because this year presented athletes with almost zero opportunities to compete and showcase their talents.

"There's no hard feelings on the awards being pushed to next year, because there weren't proper sporting events to choose their performances from. Every big event that was scheduled this year was just called off. There wasn't any proper competition and it won't be for athletes as far as judging is concerned. What we should do for now is to comply with the NSC decision and support them during times like these. We understand that people want to be rewarded but we have to understand things are hard at this point," said Tobias.

Boxing trainer Imms Moses also echoed Tobias's sentiments saying it was only right for the NSC to push the awards to next year, which will give athletes enough time to prepare and compete much better, considering that some sport events are slowly returning to action.

"It's fair to push the awards to next year; the virus has affected big competitions this year. Look at the Olympics, they had to be pushed to next year. This is the competition where we were hoping to see some of our athletes take part in but it was cancelled. Now there will be enough time with possibilities for things to get back to normal and compete again, although we are still facing a lot of challenges. This decision will give athletes and federations a chance to regroup," Moses added.

Meanwhile, Namibia's long distance runner Helalia Johannes said despite various competitions being held prior to the outbreak of coronavirus, it's an understandable situation and people should understand that coronavirus had affected almost everything.

"It's understandable that the awards are rescheduled for next year, not many of us competed this year and it's only fair that the events had to be postponed to next year in order to give athletes enough time to prepare better for the 2021 competition. I think what we should do for now is to support the decision and adhere to the rules to ensure we all remain safe before going out there to compete," she added.

Namibia Paralympics Committee (NPC) secretary general Michael Hamukwaya however feels that postponing the awards to next year is a big blow for para-athletes because there are some athletes that won medals last year at the International Paralympics Championship in Dubai, and it's unfortunate they will be missing out on the awards.

"It's a setback because most of these athletes bank on the funds from the awards - maybe they should have opted to host the awards virtual instead of cancelling. Most of the money comes from the awards and it's a bit of a disappointment but we hope we'll move to the new technology someday," Hamukwaya said.

- mkambukwe@nepc.com.na

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