Secretary general of the Namibia Paralympics Committee (NPC), Michael Hamukwaya, has underscored that the upcoming MTC Namibia Youth Games will have multiple positive effects on the local sports sector, especially for the country's para-athletes.
The 2020 edition of the MTC Namibia Youth Games, which will be the second edition of the national multisport youth games, will take place at Rietfontein in the Otjozondjupa region from 16-18 December.
Not only will the second edition of the youth games accord hundreds of athletes the opportunity to compete and showcase their talents, but Hamukwaya says the games will also serve as the perfect breeding ground for the country's para-sport scouts and coaches to discover talented athletes with disability.
Previously, the NPC had to rely on the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games to give local athletes an opportunity to compete at the highest level and discover talents. But now with the introduction of the youth games, Hamukwaya says it has made it easy for national selectors to unearth widely-scattered talents and nurture them for the national team.
"In the past, we only had to rely on Region 5 Youth Games, which takes place every two years and that made it very difficult for us to keep a strong team of athletes together because there was no competition in between to keep them busy while waiting for major international events. But with the arrival of the national youth games, we as para-sport now have an opportunity to scout and develop talented disabled athletes on an annual basis. So, these games are very important, especially for us in the para-sport space. For this year, I expect us to discover lots of talented para-athletes coming from various schools countrywide and that is what we want. We want to continue cementing the foundation for the next generation of elite para-athletes," says an enthusiastic Hamukwaya, who also doubles up as coach.
As far as streamlining para-sport at schools level, Hamukwaya adds that the youth will play a critical role to bolster ongoing efforts of promoting and creating opportunities for the country's school going para-athletes to compete in an elevated national event.
The games are expected to attract an estimated 1 092 athletes and over 170 coaches and officials from all regions, and will feature sport codes such as football, netball, volleyball, basketball, boxing, tennis, athletics, and para-sport. After the conclusion of the games, a team will be selected to represent Namibia at the AUSC Region 5 Youth Games in December 2021 in Lesotho.