Awards postponement receives mixed feelings

By Michael Uugwanga

THE postponement of the MTC/Namibia Sports Awards has received some mixed feelings from athletes and teams that were favourites for top honours.

The awards were scheduled to take place in October before they were called off amid the Covid-19 pandemic concern, and have now been moved to October 2021.

The announcement regarding the postponement of the awards was made by Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) chief administrator Freddy Mwiya.

Mwiya said the commission informed the sponsors of the awards a week ago that due to Covid-19 the event had to be postponed.

“The awards postponement is due to Covid-19 challenges on sports as few international games took place and we need to award achievements not only doing it for traditional purposes. There should be a purpose and we want to make it bigger once we return. Sponsors have already been told and they understood the situation. The awards have been postponed to October 2021,” said Mwiya.

Gatherings at events have also been reduced to 100 people from 250 due to the rising Covid-19 cases countrywide, which makes it very difficult for the awards ceremony to take place in a near empty hall.

Sporting activities in the country were given the green light to resume under strict conditions. However this is exempt of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis due to the high numbers of Covid-19 cases in those towns.

The postponement is a big blow to athletes who expected to win big at this year’s ceremony.

The likes of long-distance female runner Helalia Johannes, Paralympian sprinter Johannes Nambala and Cricket Namibia, respectively, were favourites in the sportswoman of the year, achiever of the year and team of the year awards.

Nambala a gold medal winner at the World Championship in Dubai in the 400m T13, and a bronze medal winner in the 100m T13 who was looking forward to the awards, however said that the cancellation was fair when looking at the current prevailing situation.

“I feel bad but on the other hand I do not want to be selfish.  The postponement also pushes me to work even harder because at the end of the day the Paralympics and the Olympics are the biggest events for one to win awards,” said Nambala.

His coach Robert Kaxuxuena described this year as a difficult and challenging year for sport.

“It is the right thing to do as it will just be fair to postpone the awards. This year has been a difficult year as we did not do a lot at all. We are trying to pick up the pieces and focus to later this year once things normalise,” he said.

Namibia’s senior men Cricket side had an unforgettable year following their qualification to the just postponed T2020 World Cup that was set to be staged from October 18 to November 15.

The cricket side was competing for top honours alongside the Brave Warriors that qualified to the also postponed African Nations Cup (CHAN) tournament, the women senior netball side that won the M1 Nations Cup last year and the men’s senior rugby side that competed at last year’s Rugby World Cup.

Cricket Namibia Chief Executive Officer Johan Muller although he was looking forward to the awards ceremony agrees to the postponement.

“Yes it is very difficult to host the event. The NSC is there to look after all sport codes. Fortunately this year went well for us but not getting awards this year will not mean that we will not continue doing what we have been doing”.