WINDHOEK, 26 MAR – A group of 35 athletes with disabilities and their officials arrived in Bloemfontein, South Africa on Sunday for the 2018 South African Nedbank National Championships for Physically Disabled.
The team will compete in track and field events during the event that starts on Wednesday and ends 03 April.
Of the original group of 36 athletes, one young team member was turned back at the border for not having a full birth certificate.
Speaking to Nampa on Monday, team coach Philimon Haimbili said Kapango Justina, a 16-year-old athlete was turned back at the border for not having all her documentation in order.
“One of our teachers from Rundu, Mr Wendelinus Sisenge accompanied our athlete back home from the border. It’s really not good to see an athlete going back from a team due to paperwork.”
Despite this, however, he said they have settled in well and are busy with the final touches ahead of the competition.
“We are happy to have arrived safely in Bloemfontein and cannot wait for the competition to start, because we want our athletes to prove themselves and show that all the hard work at home was not for nothing,” he said.
Haimbili added that the team is physically and mentally ready in spite of having a group of new athletes who joined the team for the first time.
“We are looking forward to winning medals, but the most important thing is to first get these athletes who are competing in this event for the first time settled well in a foreign country and when they feel comfortable, I know we will do well at the competition.”
Haimbili said the team woke up to misty weather in South Africa and had a productive first training session.