By: Justicia Shipena
The Namibia School Sports Union (NSSU) on Thursday sent off young athletes to Serbia for the first ever ISF u15 World Schools Sport Games.
The games are scheduled to take place from tomorrow until 19 September in Serbia’s capital Belgrade.
Being the largest international multi-sport event for school pupils, the games will see athletes participate in 14 various sport codes.
According to the national co-ordinator of NSSU, Solly Duiker, Namibia sent a team of 17 athletes and eight officials including two doctors who will set off at their own cost.
Duiker said, apart from competing, the participants will be given a chance to engage in educational programmes including seminars and workshops.
Duiker added that these workshops are designed to develop leadership skills and raising awareness on important policies and topics.
Speaking at the event on behalf of the sport minister Agnes Tjongarero, deputy sport minister Emma Kantema-Gaomas said the education and sport ministry are busy reforming school sports.
“The Integrated Physical Education and Schools Sport Policy (IPESS) will be launched soon, a first of its kind in Africa,” she said.
She said the government goes through harsh and hurdles when it comes to sport but people don’t recognise it.
“It pains me so much when you go on twitter and Facebook and people are asking; ‘Where was government?’ I almost want to be like mxm,” she stressed.
Kantema-Gaomas said the five-year IPESS implementation strategy is completed and will need support from all Namibians.
She wished the team a fruitful participation and carry the Namibian flag high.
“I would like to take this moment, to remind all of you, that you will be acting as ambassadors for this great country of ours, Namibia. Carry yourself with pride and humbleness,” she expressed.
Martha Shifotoka, marketing officer of NamPower said it grassroot sports is vital for developing a sporting nation.
“It is thus very important that sports are nurtured and developed very early in the developing years of school children, as an early physical foundation enables athletes to better advance and excel in their respective sports,” said Shifotoka.
She added that Namibia still has a lot of untapped potential in the sport industry that would come to fruition once it gets the necessary support.
“Thus, we have committed to contribute N$16,000 towards the team as part of NamPower’s Corporate Social Responsibility to uplift grassroots sports,” she said.
Additionally, the team is also sponsored by Windhoek Stationary. The excitement of sports has also brought parents to accompany the team at their own cost.
Speaking to The Villager in Windhoek, Leane Boshoff, team captain of the NSSU team said she is glad Namibia invests into sports as there are many competitions one can partake in.
“We have the chance to take part in events such as Cossa, NSSU regional events and youth games amongst others,” she said.
Boshoff said she is excited to represent Namibia on an international level and expects the team to make the most of it.