The2012 London Olympic Games chef de mission Ndeulipulwa Hamutumwa in his not yet publicized report summarises Namibia’s continued failure on the international scene, as we look to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the 2016 Summer Games in Brazil.
The report is to be submitted to the Government through the Minister of Sports and the Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC).
He said is that Namibia must develop a comprehensive athlete support system which should be well coordinated and monitored by a committee and should be funded adequately if the country wants to win any medals at the Olympic Games.
He called for a national steering committee “Claim the Dias” to be established by February 2013 to spearhead the athletes’ support system for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
He suggested the committee be comprised of the Government, NNOC, NSC, TISAN, Private Sectors and NSSU.
Hamutumwa said their responsibilities should include creating an athletes’ support system, monitoring and evaluating it periodically. Its mandate will be to ensure the athletes have the support they need to bring home medals in 2016.
He stressed that their immediate mandate is to prioritize the sport codes that need to be part of the National Preparation Program and begin to prepare for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and beyond.
Prioritisation of Sport Codes is of utmost importance adding that “the Claim the Dias Committee should prioritise on not more than six sport codes that the country should focus on in our bid to win medals at the next Olympic Games.”
He further proposed that a funding consortium be drawn from both the government and the private sector by February 2013. This consortium should have a dual role; that of enticing the private sector to become more involved financially in sport and of managing the fund to ensure that support is given to those most likely to win medals. The consortium should have the added responsibility of rewarding the athletes and coaches that bring honor and national pride to the country by winning medals.
“Development of professional Coaches and medical support personnel are very important Two professional coaches for every prioritized sport code must be selected by March of 2013. Likewise, medical professionals, more specifically, two doctors, two dieticians, two physiotherapists, two physiologist and two sport medics should be selected and assigned to the sport codes,” he proposed.
For Hamutumwa these professionals should be appointed by March 2013 adding that they should be adequately compensated with conducive working conditions to aid concentration in the implementation of preparation programmes.
He also suggested that a High Performance Centre (HPC) be established by December 2013 to cater for the athletes who will participate in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. The HPC should be run and managed by a full time Director of which his role must include ensuring an optimal environment for the athletes’ preparation and performance at the Rio Games.
He said that in the event when a HPC is not feasible by end of 2013 then every effort should be made to provide the athletes and their coaches with Olympic Solidarity scholarships at the various relevant and renowned HPCs around the world.
He said in order for Namibia to win medals at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games it is necessary to change the status quo adding that it has been determined that the lack of athletes’ support system is the major contributing factor to the failure to win medals at the Olympic Games.
Namibia has not had an Olympic medallist since Frank Fredericks at the 1996 Olympics. Only paralympian Johanna Benson won silver this year.
The challenges athletes face in their bid to win medals are for the most part lack of financial and material support, infrastructure and proper and professional training.
Hamutumwa added that the country must establish new, effective partnerships rather than rely on the efforts of a single agency, or agencies working independently.
The conclusions arrived from this report into issues beleaguering Namibia’s elite athletes illuminate the need to create a platform for the harmonization of the existing positive initiatives with new and innovative approaches to ensure maximum success at the Olympic Games in Rio 2016.