2012 London - where is the money?
With most athletes enjoying their off-season and the festive season closely looming in, little is known about the training programme grants for the individual athletes who have booked their places at the 2012 London Olympic Games or better known as the Games of the XXX Olympiad.
Namibia has more than five athletes officially confirmed to represent the country with more expected to add their names to Team Namibia before the end of May, which is the official deadline of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
None of the sport codes to which the individual athletes belong has pronounced themselves on the preparation or rather training programmes of individual athletes and how much is needed for each athlete to thoroughly prepare for the global sporting event set to kick start in less than eight months.
During the September All African Games held in Maputo, Mozambique the Namibian Deputy Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture called on sport administrators to kick off with the preparations for those athletes that have qualified immediately and not wait for the very last-minute to start with ill preparations that in the end will culminate in Namibia’s poor performance at the London Olympic Games next year.
All that is known is that athletes have been taking part in international competitions during the past months but what interest many is whether they have definite programmes and financial back up from their respective sport codes or national sport bodies to kick start with preparations to avoid starting with preps at the eleventh hour.
Athletics Namibia’s secretary general Frank Slabbert told The Villager that the national athletic body does not have the funds to prepare the athletes for the 2012 Olympic Games, instead he said the Namibia National Olympic Committee normally help the athletes with preparation grant mostly for the Olympic Games.
“I know that marathon runner Hilaria Johannes is training on her own with both Beata Naigambo and 400m runner Tjipekapora Herunga having both their individual coaches,” said Slabbert.
Tjiekapora’s trainer Letu Hamuhola confirmed to The Villager that the 400m sensation will continue with her training programme during the festive season.
“She is benefiting from the Government Programme Vision 2016 meant only for athletes,” said Hamuhola.
He added that both Johannes and Naigambo are not part of the Government Programme Vision 2016.
Namibia National Olympic Committee’s secretary general Abner Xoagub informed The Villager that funds will be made available by the Government through the Ministry of National Service, Youth, Sports and Culture.
“We are still sourcing funds and once we have them, we will make them available to the athletes as preparation grant,” said Xoagub.
Local Sport Consultant, Quinton-Steele Botes expressed satisfaction with both Gaby Ahrens (shooter) and Dan Craven (cyclist) preparations as they are extensively taking part in international competitions as part of their training programme.
Botes added that the number of athletes is definitely expected to rise as two or three boxers could qualify for London 2012 including a few athletes.
Government allocated N$2m towards the participation of Team Namibia at the September All African Games in Maputo, however, with the preparation of athletes having been under the spotlight following Namibia’s dismal performance it is not known as to how much Government will allocate since its normally kept a top secret even when it is public funds to which the public or rest of the citizens has a constitutional right to know.