Namibians unite to help young athletes

Iréne-Mari van der Walt
On Wednesday, Namibians opened their hearts to help two athletes in need.
This came after the young athlete Nestory Shilamba's coach, Edward Kapewasha, made a friendly request to Namibians to donate running shoes to Nestory, who is taking part in the International School Sports Federation's World Cross-Country Championships in Kenya this weekend.
Network Media Hub (NMH) posted this request on social media platforms and it provoked a widespread response. It also came to Edward's attention that another athlete, Johannes Jeremia from the Omaheke region, also urgently needed running shoes. Now both athletes are sporting brand new running shoes and other accessories, thanks to good Samaritans.
Before the group left Windhoek yesterday morning, Nestory thanked Namibians for their kindness. "I did not expect this because we left this morning [Thursday] and were already in Windhoek," he said in his mother tongue, Oshiwambo.
"People don't know me, but they've given me a lot of things," Nestory said.
"He received incredible support from kind-hearted people who showed generosity by lending a helping hand. We leave for Kenya with our heads held high and motivated," Edward said.
On his Facebook profile he said: "I appreciate the support my athletes have received. He was on the verge of running barefoot. Thanks to all the Good Samaritans in Namibia who came to his rescue. A total of four athletes were helped in the process."
Edward told NMH that Nestory is one of Namibia's emerging talents.
"He started last year. He usually participates in local competitions. The event where he qualified to go to Kenya in February was his first major competition. So Kenya will now be his second major event," Edward said.
He said that he and the athletes who compete internationally are grateful for the support of the Ministry of Sports, Youth and National Service that provided flights, meals, accommodation and tracksuits, but said that there is often a lack of equipment such as running shoes, especially among junior athletes.
"The ministry works hard and we are very grateful to them for what they do. The economic conditions also put pressure on them," he says.
The athletes will take part in the championships this weekend, which will last until 14 May. – [email protected]