Para-athletes laud Nedbank CitiDash inclusion

Namibian athletes living with disabilities have lauded their inclusion in the 2023 Nedbank CitiDash Run, with some calling it a dream come true and a step in the right direction by the event’s organisers.

The third edition of the Nedbank CitiDash Run, a sporting event that saw elite long-distance runners as well as amateurs competing in the five and 10-kilometre runs, was held at Zoo Park in Windhoek’s Independence Avenue on Sunday.

Visually impaired 2023 World Para Athletics Championships silver medallist in the 400 metres (m), Lahja Ishitile, told Nampa on Sunday that having a category for athletes with a disability at the Nedbank CitiDash was a move they have been longing for.

“We should commend Nedbank for introducing this category as this is the first time we as athletes living with a disability are not running behind organisers, begging them to be included in their events,” she said, adding that while their inclusion was a step in the right direction, more still needs to be done.

“I believe that the organisers don’t know much about the different disabilities, but in the future, I am hopeful they will familiarise themselves with what type of visual impairments there are. I am a blind athlete who competes with a guide, and there are also different impairments like those who don’t need assistance to compete as they have a bit of visibility,” Ishitile said.

Meanwhile T13 sprinter, Johannes Nambala, a silver medallist at the recently concluded World Para Athletics Championships in the 400m, stated that their inclusion in the Nedbank Citi Run is welcome, but echoed the need for further improvements.

“I am visually impaired, but I run by myself, so this thing needs to be looked at, as well as the pricing. Because those T11 athletes ran with their guides, and their pricing is little compared to able-body athletes. How will they share that money between the two? They need to look at this payment system, but I enjoyed myself and I’m looking forward to other competitions,” said Nambala.

Petrus Karuli, a T37 sprinter, told this agency that competing in the 10km Nedbank Citi Run was an experience.

“I competed with the able-bodied athletes and finished with the top 15 group. It was fun despite me not knowing which category I would be classified in as they only had visual impairment and wheelchair racing,” he said, adding that in future competitions he would love to see more disability categories as athletes have different disabilities.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency