Deputy President of the Namibian Gymnastics Federation, Johan Kruger told The Villager Sport that the lack of the sport in schools has hurt its growth in Namibia.
“Gymnastics not being in schools anymore has had a detrimental effect on the sport over the years. We have been trying for the last seven years to get it back into schools, but to no avail,” Kruger said, adding, “After school study teachers don’t focus on it anymore as most of them only look at the mainstream sports like soccer and rugby.”
He said, this has only added to the challenges the sport has already been experiencing in recent years, the biggest of which is the lack of facilities.
“The number of facilities we have available, especially in Windhoek is next to zero. Most of the gymnastics usually find a place in the back of some warehouse somewhere, but adequate space with the necessary ceiling requirements costs about N$3000 per square meter so you will end up paying N$40 000 a month,” he said.
Kruger said his own club were forced to vacate the Windhoek Showgrounds area and register to practice at school halls due to the increasing rent.
He said despite the challenges there has been a slight increase in the number of gymnasts, however a gap in quality coaching courses is a factor.
National Schools Sport Union (NSSU) coordinator, Solly Duiker told The Villager Sport that the lack of gymnastics in the school programs has been a concern and there are plans currently underway to bring it back.
“We had a meeting with the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture as well as the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Services. We are already in the planning phase and a committee has already been tasked to see to it being reintroduced to all the schools,” said Duiker.
He said he is aware of the importance of gymnastics and would like to see it return to its former glory. “Gymnastics is one of our most vital sports. It is cognitive sport that develops both the left and right side of the brain. It not only helps with physical wellbeing but it enhances the gymnast’s academics as well.”